Next-level recycling with digital innovations: Cologne-based plastics processors igus invests in startup cirplus

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

15 June 2023 – The global leader in motion plastics, igus®, announced that the company has invested in cirplus, GmbH, a technology startup based in Hamburg, Germany. The two 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.

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. The Cologne-based plastics specialist igus is pursuing this conservation goal with its “Chainge” recycling platform.

The igus “Chainge” program has proven that circular economy can be easily achieved; it just needs new recyclate material options. From as early as 2019, igus recognized this requirement and has enabled customers to recycle discarded plastic cable carriers and energy chains, regardless of manufacturer.

In October 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 unable 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 startup, 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 startup offers disposal companies, recyclers, and product manufacturers a digital marketplace through which they can buy standardized 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 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 digitalization and standardization.

DIN SPEC 91446 was also awarded the 2022 National Standardization Award by the German Institute for Standardization e.V. in climate protection and innovation categories. The common goal of making plastics’ regenerative use easier than ever has brought igus and cirplus together.

An investment with many opportunities

The “Chainge” program 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 obtaining everything easily and transparently from a single source possible.

igus has 60 years of plastics experience, so it has developed a global network and offers access to consistent material flows. Add cirplus’ experience and software expertise, and the path is clear for the next level of digital recyclate trading. The two companies are looking forward to the possibilities of a strategic partnership that offers the 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,” says Michael Blass, CEO e-chain systems at igus. “With this investment, we are setting an example for people to think about sustainability and create a network to be able to move more.”

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

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