London-based Greyparrot nabs €2 million to automate recycling sorting

Today British AI tech startup Greyparrot has raised around €2 million to tackle the growing waste crisis, by introducing digitisation and automation to recycling. The round was led by Speedinvest, a leading early-stage industrial tech investor, with participation from Force Over Mass. The new funds will be used to further develop and scale Greyparrot’s solution across global markets, setting the company up to revolutionise the recycling industry with artificial intelligence.

Only 14% of waste is recycled, due to inefficient recycling systems, rising labour costs, and strict quality requirements imposed on recycled material. On a global scale to date, 60% of the 2 billion tons of solid waste produced each year ends up in open dumps and landfill, causing major environmental impact. Additionally, less than 1% of waste is monitored and audited, as this expensive manual process is difficult to scale and provides little insight into facilities. 

Greyparrot, founded in 2019, provides AI-driven waste recognition software to monitor and sort waste at scale. Their first product, an Automated Waste Monitoring System, is currently deployed on moving conveyor belts in sorting facilities to measure large waste flows. The system automatically identifies different types of waste, providing composition information and analytics to help facilities increase recycling rates. 

The company launched last year, at a time when the waste management industry was on the cusp of its biggest transformation. Regulation banning waste exports to China and the introduction of strict recycling targets caused an urgent need to recycle locally and much more efficiently. Alongside this, consumer concerns over climate change have been on the rise. The opportunity for Greyparrot is clear, and the startup’s goal is to become the most accurate and widely used waste recognition software to unlock the financial value of waste, which will, in turn, keep our planet clean for generations to come. 

“One of the key problems we are solving is the lack of data. We see increasing demand from consumers, brands, governments and waste managers for better insights to transition to a more circular economy. There is an urgent opportunity to optimise waste management with further digitisation and automation using deep learning,” Mikela Druckman, co-founder and CEO of Greyparrot.

The startup has already partnered with the largest recycling system integrator in South Korea, ACI, who design, build and maintain 60% of government-owned Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and Mechanical Biological Treatment Facilities (MBT) in the country. Managing Director, Harrison Kim, said: “AI-enabled machine vision is needed to detect materials that current machineries cannot. This software gives us data insights to maximise our material recovery” .

Marie-Hélène Ametsreiter, Lead Partner at Speedinvest Industry, said: “Waste is not only a massive market – it builds up to a global crisis. With an increase in both world population and per capita consumption, waste management is critical to sustaining our way of living. Greyparrot’s solution has proven to bring down recycling costs and help plants recover more waste. Ultimately it unlocks the value of waste and creates a measurable impact for the environment.”

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