igus wins the “Going Circular” recycling competition held by the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce
Published on: 1st June 2023
igus had two finalists in the competition: the “Chainge” recycling program and the igus:bike
Rescuing plastics from incineration and integrating them into a circular economy: the unique “Chainge” program for recycling technical plastics won first place for igus in the “Going Circular” competition held by the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The igus:bike, made entirely from recycled plastic, also made it to the finals.
igus has two reasons to be happy: the Cologne-based plastics specialist has two “Going Circular” finalists. It was the third time that the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce organized the competition, working with VDI Cologne, VDE Cologne, the :metabolon research and innovation centre and its patron Mona Neubaur, North Rhine-Westphalia Minister for Economics. In the final round, the “Chainge” recycling program prevailed over six competitors. “We are proud of this award. It reflects the work of a strong team and shows us once again that we are on the right track. By returning engineering plastics to an environmentally friendly circular economy, we can conserve valuable resources,” says Michael Blass, CEO e-chain Systems at igus. The recycling program also won the Rhineland Business Prize in September of 2022. “It is the innovative power of entrepreneurs that finds, applies and passes on solutions. This is how global climate protection can succeed,” said Sven Gebhard, Vice President of the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce, during his laudatory speech. The contest, he said, is aimed at raising awareness of the circular economy mega-issue and motivating other companies to look for ways to conserve resources themselves.
Digital platform makes it even easier to recycle plastics
“What happens to our products at the end of their service life?” This question was the impetus for igus to launch the “Chainge” program in 2019. For so-called post-consumer plastics, there are often still no options for sustainable reuse, so they end up being incinerated. igus hopes to end this linear economy with “Chainge”. Since the initiative began, customers have been able to send their worn-out energy chains, regardless of manufacturer, to igus and have them recycled into material for new products. One example is the igus E2.1.CG cradle-chain, the first energy chain made from recycled plastic. To accelerate the move to a circular economy, igus added the “Chainge” online platform to its range of services in October 2022. Users can transfer not only energy chains, but also other components made of other technical plastics such as PA, POM and PBT to the circular economy. The platform also offers a digital marketplace that provides access for purchasing selected recycled material. “Since the start in 2019, more and more companies have been using our recycling program,” says Lena Naumann, Head of the Chainge Business Unit. “We have now rescued about 85 tons of plastic from incineration and returned it to the circular economy. We are also trying to integrate more locations and expand our recycling network. This will give us additional capacity that we can use to make an even greater contribution to the sustainable circular economy.”