igus invests in start-up cirplus

With their recycling platforms, igus and cirplus want to jointly promote the regenerative plastics industry in the future. Cirplus also launches first global standard for high-quality plastics recycling.

Plastics are super-versatile and an essential part of our everyday lives, yet even today they often end up being incinerated. A more sustainable plastics economy is needed. Global plastics specialist igus is pursuing this goal with its “chainge" recycling platform, which recycles used energy chains. Now igus has invested in the start-up company cirplus to pursue the common vision of closing the plastics loop and initiating a revolution in the trade of technical and standard thermoplastic recyclate or recycled plastic stock.

With its "chainge" program, igus has proven that the circular economy can be easy. The potential of new material flows for recyclates just needs to be explored. igus recognised this potential at an early stage and has helped customers to recycle their used energy chains, regardless of the manufacturer, since 2019.

In October 2022, the "chainge" online platform was launched to provide easy digital access to recycling. The marketplace can now also be used to quickly and easily transfer previously non-qualifying engineering plastics or ones that appeared difficult to recycle, into the circular economy. Processing companies could also purchase recycled plastics with guaranteed quality standards.

This new online market also helps companies to reach recyclate plastic targets, which is incentivised in the UK by the Plastic Packaging Tax. To progress this further, igus has now invested in the circular start-up cirplus.

Shaping the future of recycled plastics with digital technology

While igus digital trading platform for engineering plastics has been successful, cirplus is mainly active in standard thermoplastics markets, providing a digital marketplace for waste disposal companies, recyclers and product manufacturers where they can buy standardized recyclates in a safe, traceable and cost-efficient way, worldwide. By doing this, the team of digital experts are promoting greater networking of the plastics and recycling industries.

Importantly, cirplus has also initiated the DIN SPEC 91446 and DIN SPEC 91481 standards as the world's first standards for high-quality plastics recycling. The motivation was to build reliable and transparent supply chains for plastic recyclates through the combination of digitisation and standardisation. DIN SPEC 91446 was also awarded the DIN Prize 2022 by the German Institute for Standardization e.V. in the categories of climate protection and innovation. The common goal of making the reuse of plastics easier than ever before unifies igus and cirplus.

An investment with many opportunities

The "chainge" recycling programme already offers igus’ customers easy and fast access for technical plastics recycling. And with the cirplus partnership, igus has gained a strong partner for trading standard recyclates. In the future, customers will benefit from a network that links the recyclate trade in technical and standard thermoplastics, making it possible to order everything easily and transparently from a single source.

With over 60 years’ experience in plastics, igus has a global network and offers access to constant material flows. cirplus' experience and software expertise will help the joint venture to reach the next level of digital recyclate trading. And now the two companies are exploring a strategic partnership with potential for building the world's largest AI platform for circular plastics.

Justin Leonard, director of e-chain systems and cables at igus UK, says: "The desire to expand our digital platform and make trading usable for everyone brought us to work with cirplus. With the investment, we are setting an example to approach sustainability together and to create a better network to achieve more.

Christian Schiller, Managing Director at cirplus, adds: "With igus, we have found a partner who shares our values and works with us to drive digitalisation in the plastics industry forward with the aim of completely closing the loop. igus' experience in the field of engineering plastics, coupled with our expertise in the field of digitalisation and standard thermoplastics, is perfect for paving the way towards a closed circular economy –across all industries."