Recycling automation startup Glacier brings in $7.7M


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Glacier’s recycling sorting robotic is ready to kind up 45 objects a minute. | Supply: Glacier Inc.’s Local weather Pledge Fund just lately invested in Glacier, a synthetic intelligence and robotics firm that goals to assist the recycling business work towards a world with out waste. The funding agency mentioned the funding is a part of its ongoing dedication to help entrepreneurs and female-led corporations in local weather tech.

“Almost 70 million tons of recycling are processed yearly within the U.S. alone. That is already an immense endeavor, however we will get better a lot extra materials by constructing accessible automation processes after which scaling it throughout our nation’s recycling infrastructure,” Areeb Malik, co-founder of Glacier, mentioned in a launch. “That’s what Glacier is doing.”

The San Francisco-based firm makes use of AI-powered robots to automate the sorting of recyclables. It collects real-time knowledge on recycling streams fore recycling corporations and shopper manufacturers.

Glacier has additionally introduced that will probably be collaborating with Amazon to boost traceability and restoration processes for recyclables. Its newest funding spherical, totaling $7.7 million, additionally included participation from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), AlleyCorp, Overture Local weather VC, and VSC Ventures.

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Glacier goals to assist recycling business attain its full potential

Malik and Rebecca Hu mentioned they co-founded Glacier to make a constructive influence on the local weather disaster. Regardless of the potential of recycling as a local weather answer, right this moment solely 21% of residential recyclables within the U.S. are literally recycled. That is typically on account of an absence of recycling infrastructure, they mentioned.

“After researching a wide range of local weather options, we found that making use of novel advances in AI and robotic automation to assist the recycling business run extra effectively is a robust strategy to cut back waste, which has a direct hyperlink to decreasing carbon emissions,” said Hu.

Glacier mentioned its robots can enhance sorting and recycling charges to assist stop beneficial supplies, like metals and plastics, from ending up in landfills and oceans. The corporate’s method to recycling innovation combines two core applied sciences.

The primary is Glacier’s proprietary AI mannequin, which is able to figuring out greater than 30 classes of recyclable supplies in actual time. This contains issues as broad as PET plastic and as slim as a toothpaste tube. The corporate mentioned the mixture of this AI mannequin with its custom-designed robotic delivers constant recyclable sorting energy with minimal implementation prices.

Glacier added that its potential influence on the round financial system extends past its sorting robotic. Its software program and AI are producing a recycling knowledge set to assist recycling services and types make better-informed selections.

“We’re continually in search of methods to enhance recycling, and creating robots is simply step one,” mentioned Malik.

“Our recycling AI is a robust instrument for everybody within the round financial system, and it couldn’t come at a extra essential time,” mentioned Hu. “As we see mounting legislative, financial, and social strain to recycle higher, manufacturers are utilizing our knowledge to measure and enhance how their packaging is being recycled, whereas recycling services are utilizing our knowledge to enhance their operations and rescue extra recyclables from landfill. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with a circular-economy chief like Amazon in order that we will speed up our mission to finish waste.”

Maintaining plastic out of landfills and oceans

Glacier claimed that simply considered one of its robots can stop over 10 million objects per yr from ending up in landfills. Within the close to time period, the corporate mentioned its expertise can assist enhance the standard of recycling content material. This manner, extra post-consumer materials is accessible to be used in new packaging.

In the long term, Glacier’s founders mentioned they hope to allow recycling for extra sorts of packaging and supplies that aren’t at present recycled. This is the reason Amazon is collaborating with Glacier to pilot a sortation challenge for novel biomaterials.

Amazon mentioned its imaginative and prescient is to cut back plastic use and shift towards supplies which are bio-based, in addition to these which are biodegradable and compostable. This contains testing new biomaterials for purposes with out different sustainable options, resembling some versatile plastics, after which recycling them.


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