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Teijin to Cut Back Plastics Development, Focus on Green Chemistry

Japanese chemical and textile firm Teijin has developed a wide-ranging restructuring plan that will cut back on plastics development and boost its green chemistry operations.

Teijin says it will drastically restructure its poorly-performing polyester fiber, PET and polycarbonate divisions. They currently account for 50 percent of Teijin's sales, and the company plans to reduce that to 25 percent by 2020.

Teijin has seen a decrease in PET demand in the U.S. and an increase in demand for lighter, more energy-efficient and resource-efficient products.

Among the areas that it plans to focus more heavily on are biopolymers, recycling technologies, water treatment, materials for lighter electronics, solar and fuel cell materials, high performance materials, pharmaceuticals and home health care.

Teijin has already been invested in bioplastics through NatureWorks, a joint venture between Teijin and Cargill, which plans to develop heat-resistant polylactic acid resin and bioplastics from inedible vegetation.

The company has also been working in fiber recycling for some time, and so far has 100 partners in its Eco Circle polyester fiber reclamation and recycling program. One of the companies it works with is Patagonia, which has been expanding its Common Threads clothing recycling program.

Teijin is also the company behind the new suits at Sears made of wool and polyester derived from recycled plastic.

Along with shifting its product focus, Teijin is making cuts to personnel and expenditures, reducing overtime and fringe benefits, instituting a hiring freeze, holding off on major capital investments, and eliminating 2,500 subcontracted and temporary worker positions.

Plastics - CC license by fhemerick

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