igus invests in start-up cirplus

Recycling platforms designed by igus and cirplus jointly promote the regenerative plastics industry of the future

With their cooperation, igus and cirplus are jointly setting the course for the next level of digital recyclate trading in technical and standard plastics. Michael Blass, CEO e-chain systems at igus (left) and Christian Schiller, cirplus CEO (right), are happy about the cooperation (Image: igus)

Plastic products have many uses and have become indispensable for everyday life. But when they reach the end of their service life, they often end up in the incinerator. Conserving valuable resources and protecting the environment requires a sustainable plastics industry. igus is pursuing this conservation goal with its Chainge recycling platform. The company has invested in cirplus, a start-up based in Hamburg. The companies have a joint vision of closing the plastics cycle and initiating a revolution in the trade of recycled materials from technical and standard thermoplastics.

The igus Chainge programme seeks to demonstrate that circular economy can be easily achieved, as it just requires new recyclate material options. From as early as 2019, igus recognised this requirement and has been enabling customers to have disused energy chains recycled, regardless of manufacturer. In Oct 2022, the Chainge online platform was created to provide easy digital access to recycling. The marketplace can now be used to add technical plastics to the circular economy that were previously not able to be accepted. It also enables processing companies to purchase recycled plastics with guaranteed quality standards. This change makes it easier to achieve announced recycling quotas. To further advance the digital circular economy, igus has now invested in a circular start-up, cirplus.

Shaping the future of recycled plastics with digital technology

While igus has had successes with technical plastics, cirplus is mainly active in the markets for standard thermoplastics. The Hamburg start-up offers disposal companies, recyclers, and product manufacturers a digital marketplace through which they can buy standardised recyclates in a reliable, traceable, cost-effective manner worldwide. The team of technology and digital experts are therefore promoting the networking of the plastics and recycling industries.

Cirplus was also responsible for initiating DIN SPEC 91446 and DIN SPEC 91481 as the world’s first standards for high-quality plastics recycling. The motivation was to build reliable, transparent supply chains for plastic recyclates through the combination of digitalisation and standardisation. DIN SPEC 91446 was also awarded the DIN Prize 2022 by the German Institute for Standardisation in the categories of climate protection and innovation. The common goal of making the regenerative use of plastics easier than ever before has brought igus and cirplus together.

An investment with many opportunities

Chainge offers igus customers quick and easy access to technical plastics recycling. In cirplus, igus now has a strong partner for the digital standard recyclates industry. In the future, customers will benefit from a network that links the recyclate trade in technical and standard thermoplastics and makes it possible to obtain everything easily and transparently from a single source.

The two companies are looking forward to the possibilities of a strategic partnership that offers potential for building the world’s largest AI platform for circular plastics.

“Our efforts to expand our activities and make them usable for everyone led us to join forces with cirplus,” said Michael Blass, CEO e-chain systems at igus. With this investment, we are setting an example for people to think about sustainability and to create a network in order to be able to move more.”

Christian Schiller, cirplus CEO, added: “In igus, we have found a partner who shares our values and works with us to advance digitalisation in the plastics industry with the aim of closing the cycle completely. igus’ experience in the field of technical plastics coupled with our expertise in the field of digitalisation and standard thermoplastics is the ideal starting point for pursuing a closed circular economy across all industries.”