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Recycling heavyweight backs AI startup Greyparrot with $12.8M

A machine made by startup Greyparrot uses AI to analyze recycled materials

A machine made by startup Greyparrot uses AI to analyze and manage recycled materials. Photo courtesy of Greyparrot

AI startup Greyparrot has raised $12.8 million in strategic funding from Bollegraaf, the world's largest builder of recycling plants.

Why it matters: Much of the current recycling infrastructure is inefficient, lacking digital tools, which leads to low rates of recycled materials.

Details: In addition to the equity financing, Bollegraaf will become a distributor and strategic partner of Greyparrot's AI tech.

  • London-based Greyparrot will also acquire Bollegraaf's AI intellectual property and team.
  • The U.S. rate for residential recycling is 32%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning only close to one-third of waste created by homes is recycled.
  • Using AI will double that rate, says Edmund Tenfelde, CEO of Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions.

How it works: Greyparrot makes an analyzing unit the size of a bedroom bureau that sits on top of a recycling conveyor belt and uses cameras, computers, and AI to identify materials.

  • The units analyze the materials for the recycling plant, allowing it to operate more efficiently.
  • Greyparrot says last year it helped facilities analyze more than 25 billion waste objects and identified data for customers like material type, financial value, brand, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Big picture: There's a massive need for plastic recycling, in particular, as the mountain of plastic waste grows and ends up in landfills and in oceans.

  • There are only 5,500 facilities globally that manage municipal solid waste.
  • More regulations are being introduced around plastic waste and recycling, including the UN plastics treaty.
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