Discover How Cirplus is Turning Plastic Waste into New Products and Closing the Loop on the Global Plastic Crisis – You Won’t Believe the Results!
The plastic crisis is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet today. With plastic production estimated to reach over one billion tons per year by 2050, and the amount of plastic trash currently at 240 million metric tons per year, it’s clear that something needs to be done. Enter Christian Schiller and Volkan Bilici, who founded Cirplus in 2018, the world’s first global recycling platform for plastic.
Schiller was sailing between Colombia and Panama when he encountered a garbage patch several hundred meters long. This experience, combined with his background as a digital platform builder, led him to reflect on where he could make the biggest difference. At an innovator conference in Berlin, he met Bilici, and together they started Cirplus to solve the plastic crisis. The platform connects recycling companies with manufacturers and distributors to close the loop on plastic waste.
The Urgency of the Plastic Crisis
The plastic crisis is urgent, with only 5% of plastic getting recycled and the US topping the world at 287 pounds of plastic waste per person per year. Plastic is one of the most difficult materials to recycle because of its various components, but reducing and recycling the material is also one of the most urgent. Recent events, such as the train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, have raised public awareness about the often highly toxic additives involved in plastic manufacturing.
Despite recent advances in local and national laws, with entire countries such as India and the EU banning single-use plastics, plastics production continues to grow. Schiller advocates for bold and big moves to solve the plastics crisis. He points to Sweden, where a plastic recycler is currently building the world’s largest plastic recycling facility, Site Zero, with the ability to handle 200,000 tons of plastic packaging every year once completed later this year. Norway is recycling 97% of its plastic bottles and is leading the negotiations to hammer out an international UN treaty to reduce plastic pollution, similar to the 2015 Paris climate accord.
The Power of the “3 Rs” and the Future of Recycling
To move towards a truly circular economy, Schiller advocates for the classic “3 Rs” mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle. The recent EU legislation forcing companies to use a percentage of recycled plastic in their manufacturing, not just virgin plastic, is a step in the right direction. Schiller sees himself as an “activist-entrepreneur,” meaning his platform is as much about solving the problem as raising awareness about the multifold aspects of the crisis. He believes that every recycled pound is a pound less of plastic in landfills or oceans.
Cirplus currently has 2,500 users, including packaging giants that handle big labels. Schiller hopes it will one day be the Amazon for recycled plastic. The platform uses its own software to follow the material across the globe and create transparency for buyers and sellers of recyclates, which include post-consumer shampoo bottles, caps, and more. Once broken down, these materials can be used to make new products.
In conclusion, the plastic crisis is a complex problem that requires bold and big moves to solve. Cirplus is one piece of the puzzle, connecting recycling companies with manufacturers and distributors to close the loop on plastic waste.
The urgency of the plastic crisis cannot be overstated, but with the classic “3 Rs” mantra and new legislation, there is hope for a better future. Every recycled pound is a step in the right direction towards a truly circular economy.