A digital online market for recyclates, set up by the Hamburg-based Cirplus start-up, is growing in popularity after 90 companies from 15 countries enquired about several ten thousand tonnes since April, the company said. Potential buyers enter the type of plastics sought to find the best match from a pool of a suppliers. A new Packaging Act in effect since January 1, 2019 obliges manufacturers to meet a higher recycling rate (58.5 per cent instead of 22.5 per cent) giving this market niche even more clout. Until now, plastic as good as new had been cheaper than recycled plastic.
Plastic carpet proves trigger
Two years ago, Christian Schiller, co-founder of Cirplus, went on a one-year trip around the world and came across a sea of plastic while sailing in the Caribbean. Aghast by the sheer amount of waste and after his boat became trapped “in the middle of all the plastic in the Caribbean, it was just shocking,” said Schiller. “At that point, I hit on a plan to get to the bottom of the structural causes of the plastics crisis on my return to Germany. The idea was to come up with an entrepreneurial means of fighting the causes.” By lucky chance, he met the IT developer Volkan Bilici at the Entrepreneur First. Bilici has since proven an ideal business partner and the duo have developed their online platform for recylates.
Developing an algorithm in the pilot project
Matchmaking during the ongoing test phase is done manually and free of charge. Cirplus has been working with 30 companies in the recycling and plastics industry to develop and optimise an AI-based algorithm in a pilot programme since July.
“We are convinced that really useful software can only be built in close co-operation with our customers,” said Schiller. Among the pilot customers are Hamburg-based companies such as FVH Folienveredlung Hamburg GmbH and SUND-Holding GmbH as well as international companies. The two founders have set their sights on revolutionising plastic recycling across Europe with their commercial platform.
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