AI-Powered Recycling Startups Shines The Spotlight On Green Tech

Apple’s quest for better recycling technology led to the creation of Daisy, a recycling robot showcased by TechCrunch. Daisy operates in Apple’s Austin facility, which has been producing Mac Pro desktops since 2013.

Daisy, evolving from another robot, Liam 1.0, extracts components from discarded iPhones. While Daisy’s efficiency has improved, recycling robots like her still have substantial scaling to do before it can make a meaningful impact.

Still, Daisy’s role as an ambassador for Apple’s recycling efforts demonstrates Apple’s commitment to sustainability. With ongoing improvements and potential expansion to manage other Apple products, Daisy represents Apple’s dedication to innovation in recycling technology.


How Is AI Changing The Recycling Industry?


Artificial Intelligence is transforming the recycling industry, making it more efficient and sustainable. This shift contrasts sharply with traditional, manual methods, bringing about a new era of smart recycling. As this technology continues to evolve, it promises a future where recycling is not just a process, but a highly optimised, sustainable practice.


Intelligent Sorting

AI’s most significant impact is in material identification and sorting. Machine learning algorithms and advanced sensors autonomously recognise and classify different materials, far surpassing human capabilities. This technology not only speeds up sorting but also increases accuracy, reducing contamination and improving the value of recycled materials.


Adapting to Change

Unlike static traditional methods, AI systems continuously learn and adapt. They refine their sorting criteria over time, adjusting to new materials and changing recycling standards. This adaptability ensures that recycling processes remain efficient as waste streams evolve.


Enhancing Efficiency

Predictive analytics, another AI application, forecasts potential issues in recycling operations. By analysing large datasets, it can predict equipment failures, sorting inefficiencies, or contamination risks. This foresight allows for proactive measures, preventing costly downtimes and maintaining high-quality output.


Addressing Labour Shortages

The recycling industry faces significant worker shortages, with some facilities only 20% staffed. AI and automation help fill this gap, performing tasks traditionally done by humans. This technological support not only maintains operations but also improves overall efficiency.


AI-Powered Recycling Startups


1. Bin-e

Bin-e is a key player in the waste management industry with its AI-powered smart waste bins designed for public spaces. These bins automatically sort and compress waste, controlling fill levels and processing data for efficient waste management.

Trusted by major brands like Kaufland, McDonald’s, and Lego, Bin-e offers customisable solutions for various industries, from recycling to facility management.

With products like Bin-e Electro and Bin-e Reward, Bin-e enhances recycling interactivity and efficiency, leading the charge towards a more sustainable future.


2. Bollegraaf



Bollegraaf creates recycling and sorting systems that prioritise environmental care and resource efficiency. Their smart sorting solutions, refined by 60 years of industry expertise, cater to diverse waste management needs, from construction and demolition waste to single-stream recycling.

Bollegraaf’s approach ensures each installation is finely tuned to meet specific challenges, offering flexibility, reliability, and sustainability.

With a commitment to quality, customisation, and eco-friendly design, Bollegraaf drives meaningful innovation towards a cleaner, greener future.


3. Sorted



Sorted develops AI-powered solutions for sorting recyclable materials, aiding waste management companies in reducing landfill and incineration waste. Their technology sorts recyclable plastic at a granular level, based on resin and usage, meeting industry demands effectively.

Co-founded by Arthur and Luis, experienced in waste management, operations, and technology, the company aims to tackle the global plastic waste crisis by providing innovative recycling solutions.


4. Glacier



Glacier Robotics pioneers next-generation recycling technology, offering sorting robots for every recycling facility. Their intelligent sorting system boasts high precision and advanced AI, identifying materials accurately.

With an innovative design, Glacier’s robots are up to 60% more affordable than competitors and boast proven performance, achieving 45 picks per minute in real facilities.

Their vision is to drive a circular economy, reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions.


5. Resourcify



Resourcify is tackling waste management with its digital operating system for the circular economy. Trusted by industry giants like OBI, McDonald’s, and Johnson & Johnson, Resourcify offers end-to-end waste management and circularity solutions.

With over 100 million tonnes of waste under management, the platform processes 3 million disposal orders annually through its network of 600+ recyclers.

Resourcify empowers businesses across industries, including manufacturing, construction, and retail, to digitize and optimize their waste streams, thereby promoting sustainability and cost efficiency.


6. Refiberd



Refiberd provide intelligent sorting solutions for textile recycling, tackling the global issue of textile waste.

Their AI-based hyperspectral imaging system accurately detects fiber composition and contaminants in textile waste, enabling efficient sorting for recycling applications.

With a mission to achieve true circularity in the fashion industry, Refiberd’s technology empowers recyclers to divert up to 70% of textile waste from landfills, disrupting the waste cycle and unlocking new opportunities. Their team combines expertise in technology and sustainability to drive impactful change.


7. Everestlabs



EverestLabs offers AI-driven recycling solutions to transform operations and boost efficiency. Their RecycleOS platform integrates AI, robotics, and data to digitise the recycling stream, optimise sorting processes, and monitor facility operations.

With a focus on increasing revenue, lowering labor costs, and boosting recycled content, EverestLabs’ solutions cater to materials recovery facilities, recyclers, and packaging manufacturers.

Trusted by industry leaders, EverestLabs provides innovative technology to enhance sustainability and streamline recycling operations.


8. CleanRobotics



CleanRobotics creates intelligent waste management systems, leveraging AI and robotics for a sustainable future. TrashBot, their flagship product, revolutionises recycling by sorting items at disposal, ensuring circular materials are recovered with 95% accuracy.

Through data-driven education and insights, CleanRobotics empowers decision-making for zero-waste visions, offering cost-effective solutions for high-traffic facilities like airports and stadiums.

TrashBot’s cloud-connected system provides on-demand data, waste audits, and educational content, driving the zero-waste revolution forward.


9. Recycleye



Recycleye pioneers AI-powered sorting equipment and analytics for waste management businesses worldwide.

Their robust and reliable 6-axis AI waste robots deliver improved profitability by enhancing volume and offtake purity while reducing labor costs and operational expenses.

Through real-life case studies by material, Recycleye demonstrates limitless waste classes sorted efficiently, empowering waste facilities to optimize operations and turn the world’s waste into a valuable resource.


10. Zaak



ZaaK Technologies provide innovative solutions for sustainable construction by transforming mineral wastes into eco-friendly building materials.

Their flagship product, Lypors, is a lightweight sand made from upcycled mineral wastes and by-products. ZaaK’s technologies offer a single-step solution to environmental impacts, reducing waste disposal and promoting a circular economy.

With a focus on sustainability and efficiency, ZaaK aims to shape the future of construction while contributing to the global transition to a greener, more sustainable future.