igus launches new Chainge recycling platform

The platform is used not only to recycle old e-chains and other technical plastics, but also to buy recycled material.

As part of the Chainge recycling initiative, igus is launching a unique online platform that allows customers to recycle old plastic components and purchase processed material at the same time. (Image: igus)

Following customer feedback on the “Chainge” recycling initiative, which was launched in 2019, igus has expanded the project. In the future, a new online platform will allow recycling of e-chains and other technical plastic components. Customers will have the option of purchasing processed material (ground material and regranulate) on the platform. The new platform will also be presented at K 2022, an international plastics trade show, in Düsseldorf.

After the end of their service life, energy chains often end up in industrial waste and are thus incinerated. Their emissions then pollute the environment, and valuable resources are lost. These are linear economy problems that igus has sought to counter with its “Chainge” recycling programme since 2019. Customers send e-chains — regardless of their manufacturer — to Cologne, where igus re-granulates them for reuse. Customers receive a voucher in return for their old chains.

“What began as a small idea has rapidly picked up steam. Since the start of Chainge, we have already collected and recycled over 60 tons of high-performance plastics. Half of that was in 2022 alone,” said Michael Blass, CEO of e-chain systems at igus. “This positive feedback has motivated us to think even bigger about recycling. To accelerate the transformation to a circular economy, we will therefore start including not only e-chains in the recycling program, but also other components made from technical plastics.”

Online platform makes global recycling even easier

In order to speed up the recycling process, igus will launch the new Chainge online platform in October 2022. There, owners of old plastic parts, such as bar stock and gears, can submit a recycling request, process returns and manage credits for purchasing new igus products. As part of the Chainge expansion, igus will include additional locations in the program and further broaden its recycling network.

“Our recycling will no longer be limited to our headquarters in Cologne, but can be performed around the world. These additional capacities will allow us to make an even greater contribution to the circular economy,” said Blass. The platform will also sell regranulate, which has so far been used only in in-house injection moulding. “That way, customers around the world can now also easily buy processed material from which new, high-quality plastic components can be created.”

Everything from one source

Since the start of the Chainge programme, igus has expanded its range of products and services to further support the circular economy. Since the beginning of this year, igus has been accepting old material as well as used e-chains as part of assembly orders. igus was also recently awarded the Rhineland Business Prize for sustainability for its recycling programme. With Chainge, igus created world’s first energy chain made entirely from recycled material this year.

Blass said: “The special thing about igus is that you get everything from a single source. We are a plastics producer and supplier, an assembly service provider, a disposal company, and a producer and supplier of recycled material used to create new products. What we offer is unique in this form and enables us to work with our customers to turn plastic into a sustainable resource.”