Customer feedback on the “Chainge” recycling initiative, launched in 2019, is so positive that igus is now expanding the project. In the future, a new and unique online platform will allow recycling not only of e-chains but also of other technical plastic waste. Customers can also purchase processed material (ground material and regranulate) on the site, thus allowing for a single source.
After the end of their service life, energy chain cable carriers (or e-chains) often end up in industrial waste and are thus incinerated. Their emissions then pollute the environment, and valuable resources are lost forever. These are linear economic problems that igus has been countering with its “Chainge” recycling program since 2019. Customers send worn-out e-chains, regardless of their manufacturer, to Cologne, where igus re-granulates them for reuse. Customers receive a voucher in return for their old chains.
“What began as a small idea has rapidly picked up steam. Since the start of ‘Chainge,’ we have collected and recycled over 60 tons of high-performance plastics. Half of that was in 2022 alone,” said Michael Blass, CEO of e-chain systems at igus. “This positive feedback has motivated us to think even bigger about recycling. To accelerate the transformation to a circular economy, we will therefore start including e-chains in the recycling program and other components made from technical plastics.”
Online platform makes global recycling even easier
To speed up the recycling process igus will launch a new online “Chainge” platform in October 2022. There, owners of old plastic parts, such as bar stock and gears, can submit a recycling request, process returns, and manage credits for purchasing new igus products. As part of the “Chainge” expansion, igus will include additional locations in the program and further broaden its recycling network.
“Our recycling will no longer be limited to our headquarters in Cologne but can be performed worldwide. These additional capacities will allow us to make an even greater contribution to the circular economy,” said Blass.
The platform will also sell regranulate, which until now has only been used in in-house injection molding.
“That way, customers worldwide can now easily buy processed material from which new, high-quality plastic components can be created,” Blass said.
Everything from one source
Since the start of the “Chainge” program, igus has continuously expanded its range of products and services to advance the circular economy further. As of the beginning of this year, igus has been accepting old material and end-of-life e-chains as part of assembly orders. igus was also recently awarded the Rhineland Business Prize for sustainability for its recycling program. But igus goes one step further.
“Chainge” gave rise to the world’s first energy chain made entirely from recycled material, also created this year.
Blass concluded, “The special thing about igus is that you get everything from a single source. We are a plastics producer and supplier, an assembly service provider, a disposal company, and a producer and supplier of recycled material used to create new products. What we offer is unique in this form and enables us to work with our customers to turn plastic into a sustainable resource.”
To access the online platform visit chainge.igus.de.