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Germany's Cirplus raises millions to fight plastic waste

Any company that helps solve the problem of how to wean the world off of single use plastics produced by fossil fuels is sitting on what could be a billion dollar business.

That's why investors are willing to pour nearly $4 million into the early stage German startup Cirplus. The company has developed a digital marketplace for plastic waste pickup and reprocessing.

The new funding round, from investors including Pale Blue Dot, MyClimateJourney, Entrepreneur First, Nucleus Capital, and First Momentum Ventures comes on the third anniversary of Cirplus' launch.

Founded by Christian Schiller and Volkan Bilici, Cirplus is a procurement platform for recycled plastics, connecting recyclers with plastics converters who can source recycled materials in extremely fragmented markets.

The idea is that using Cirplus' software manufacturers have an easier time accessing recycled plastics so that they can boost the percentage of recycled material and reduce the use of virgin fossil-fuel produced plastics in products.

"My team and I are very grateful to have such experienced investors and entrepreneurs supporting us in our mission to bring plastic waste into a true circular economy," said Schiller in a statement. "The road is still long and difficult, but we are now well equipped to boost global recycling with the help of our software for a material that is both a curse and a blessing."

For investors like MyClimateJourney, the combination of a marketplace technology and the regulatory tailwinds coming from the EU (and eventually the U.S.) around plastic waste reduction proved too attractive an opportunity to pass up.

"From eBay to AirBnB, online marketplaces have been a disruptive means of driving efficiencies and scale in incumbent sectors accustomed to opaque ways of transacting business. As we’ve seen in other areas of climate tech, we view it as a tried and true opportunity, provided it's executed well, to scale the volume of an existing market," the firm wrote in an email.

"The problem of plastics is something readily felt by nearly everyone, regardless of where in the world one lives. With the issue eliciting growing attention from both governments and brands, we’re optimistic that cirplus can add unique value in creating an efficient and scalable marketplace that makes a dent in the consumption of single-use plastics."

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