Cirplus offers a B2B platform for purchasing recyclable plastics. CEO Christian Schiller says: “Without regulation, the circular economy would have no chance.”
Cirplus CEO Christian Schiller also sits on the Cirplus Federal Government’s circular expert council
A plastic bottle has a decomposition time of around 450 years. Until then it lies in the dirt, floats in the sea or is ingested as microparticles by animals and people – with health consequences. Nevertheless, a world without plastic and plastics has become unthinkable. They can be found in every household. To deal with the problem, they have to be recycled. But compared to producing new plastics, this is expensive. Cirplus CEO Christian Schiller says: “Without regulation, the circular economy would have no chance.”
The company Cirplus claims to be Europe’s largest B2B platform on which companies can purchase recycled plastics. The startup has now received a seven-figure amount in a financing round. The group is led by Igus, the world‘s leading manufacturer of energy chain systems and plain bearings made of lubrication-free and low-wear high-performance plastics. The venture capital company Wepa Ventures is also involved.
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Buying new plastics cheaper than recycling
Cirplus wants to use the money to further expand – including into other countries. Cirplus has set itself the goal of optimizing the procurement of recycled plastics in order to reduce processes and costs for companies. Estimates assume that that so far only around nine percent of the plastics produced worldwide have been recycled.
“We actually have a massive environmental problem. From the cell phone case, to the computer and the drinking bottle – a lot of things are made of plastic,” says Schiller. However, through recycling, plastics continually experience new life cycles. Energy, waste and CO₂ are thus saved. According to the startup, on the B2B platform Cirplus, buyers have access to 3,000 companies from 100 countries that sell so-called recyclates.
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Startup CEO: In order to change something, regulations are needed
Recycled materials are reusable plastics. This also includes recyclable PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is used for many bottles. In order to protect the environment and encourage the use of recyclates, the EU is planning to introduce new regulations. The “Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation” is intended to define design requirements for certain product groups. There should also be a minimum proportion of recyclates in plastic packaging. A preliminary agreement on the regulations has already been reached in the European Parliament. Schiller expects a final result from Brussels in March.
Companies would then have to rely more on recyclable plastics for packaging. “Then the demand for the recyclates could increase sharply. We are in a pole position,” explains the CEO. However, it is clear to him that without regulation the market for recyclable plastics would be in difficult shape. “In our throwaway society, many things are optimized for virgin materials. Recycling is not a sexy business. In order to change something, regulations are needed.”
If the changes occur in the EU, the market could grow significantly. The member companies of the plastics association Plastic Europe assume that that investment in Europe alone will grow from 2.6 billion euros in 2025 to 7.2 billion euros in 2030. Schiller’s B2B platform could benefit from this. The startup is currently not making any profit.
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