A Chat with Christian Schiller, Co-Founder & CEO at Global Marketplace For Circular Plastics: cirplus

Founded in 2018 by myself and Volkan Bilic, cirplus is the first global marketplace for circular plastics. Closing the loop on plastic with technology, our platform currently has more than 1,200 companies from 100 countries onboard and 1.3 million tons of materials listed.

As a key solution to solving the plastic crisis, our software simplifies the complex trade of recyclates and plastic waste.

We do this by connecting waste managers, recyclers and product manufacturers on our platform, to allow them to buy and sell recycled plastics in a reliable and cost-effective way, by digitising the entire procurement process. Here, users can gain an overview of the global supply and demand and will be able to process the entire transaction at a central location.

Combining the power of digitalisation with standardisation, we have gone one step further and initiated the world-first industry standard for high-quality recycling: DIN SPEC 91446.

Previously, there was no standard for downcycled plastics. In a major breakthrough for the industry, cirplus worked with 15 industry giants to set standards for recycled plastics and created transparency in terms of quantity, quality and price. As a result, plastic recylates can become a viable option to manufacturers who require standardisation.

All of this allows us to work towards our goal – making plastic waste history. Our mission is to build a one-stop shop for finding, negotiating, contracting, shipping, insuring and paying for recyclates and plastic waste trades across the globe. Through standardisation and digitalisation, transactional costs will be lowered and cirplus will make plastic recyclates the go-to material.

What do you think makes this company unique?

cirplus is unique for multiple reasons. However, let me break these down into three key points.

  • We have a highly experienced team, who have already been successful in building platforms in the past. For instance, before founding cirplus I was responsible for building and scaling BlaBlaCar Germany as its first employee – today it is the largest ride-sharing platform with more than 100 million users.
  • Unlike similar companies, cirplus is completely independent, meaning we have no shareholders from the value chain of plastics.
  • We have developed, published and integrated into cirplus the world’s first standard for high-quality recycling.
  • We are the first global digital marketplace for circular plastic – cirplus has over 500,000 tons of material listed and 35+ different polymer types in over 100 countries. With this, we have the first mover advantage, making us the number one in terms of industry acceptance and traction –  but this is just a temporary snapshot: we are fully aware that we have to work hard to maintain and strengthen our current position.

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

Since the company was founded in December 2018, cirplus has onboarded more than 1200 companies from 100 countries onto its platform and has built an inventory of more than 500,000 tons of recycled plastics listed for sale.

This is a huge growth, and an achievement that I am incredibly proud off. We have to thank our investors, who have believed in us along the way. Our first funder, Entrepreneur First, backed us during our demo days in early 2019. By reaching the second round, cirplus received an initial seed capital of £80,000. Two years later, further venture capitalists from Sweden and Germany joined to support our growth.

From the beginning, the ambition was to create the first global marketplace for plastic materials and now with companies from 100 countries, cirplus has achieved this.

What can we hope to see from cirplus in the future?

In December 2018, cirplus was just two men’s dream. Fast forward to today, we have hired 15 employees to help run our global platform for circular plastics, and with 100 companies onboard we feel we are moving towards our goal of making plastic waste history.

To achieve this we aim to make cirplus the one-stop shop for circular plastics. This means that any company buying and selling recycled plastics across the globe will have just one bookmark in their browser

Our intention for the next two years is to crack the famous ‘product-market-pricing-fit’ challenge. This is a common hurdle start-ups need to overcome to flourish into a successful business. But what this space, we know what we are doing.


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