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This London-based AI-powered recycling startup raised £1.65M to enhance material sorting

London-based AI-powered recycling startup has raised £1.65M to enhance material sorting

Sorted, a London-based waste management technology company, has secured £1.65 million in a seed funding round led by Pi Labs, a venture capital firm focused on the digital and sustainable world. The funding aims to address the global challenge of inefficient material sorting in recycling facilities.

Sorted’s innovative approach has already garnered interest from major waste management and recycling companies across the UK and France, including SUEZ UK and Cawleys. 

The newly acquired funding will allow Sorted to expand its business development and technical teams, accelerating their go-to-market strategy.  

What problem is the startup trying to solve?

A staggering 2.12 billion tonnes of waste is landfilled globally each year, causing significant environmental damage. Governments are implementing stricter regulations to promote recycling and reduce reliance on single-use materials. 

However, the recycling industry struggles to meet this demand due to the complexities involved in sorting recyclable materials, particularly plastic. This inefficiency creates a missed economic opportunity valued at an estimated $133 billion.

Sorted’s AI-powered sorting assistance for humans

Sorted tackles this challenge by providing AI-powered solutions to enhance human sorting capabilities in recycling facilities. Their technology utilises a combination of computer vision, spectroscopy, and coloured lasers to identify, differentiate, and pinpoint valuable recyclable materials on conveyor belts. 

“Our mission is to help waste management companies sort their waste more effectively and maximise recovery of recyclable materials,” said Arthur Goujon, Co-founder and CTO at Sorted. “We use AI to augment and better enable human pickers.”

Pilot programs in the UK have demonstrated the effectiveness of Sorted’s technology, with a reported increase in residual waste recovery by over 50%. This translates to additional revenue potential for Sorted’s customers through recovered materials and reduced reliance on incineration, which carries a significant carbon footprint.

What investors are saying about the startup

“With global annual waste generation predicted to increase by 70% between 2018 and 2050, we urgently need innovative solutions to help us move towards a zero waste economy,” said Faisal Butt, Founder and Managing Partner at Pi Labs. “Sorted has created a digitalised and sustainable solution to this problem.”

Fred Stinchcombe, Production Regional Manager at SUEZ UK, a client of Sorted, highlighted the company’s ability to adapt to existing infrastructure. “Sorted is tackling exactly that; the team understands our operation and is leveraging technology in a pragmatic way to start adding value from the start.”

What we think about the startup 

While the road to a zero-waste economy remains long, Sorted’s AI-powered approach to material sorting offers a promising step forward. By bridging the gap between human sorting capabilities and the complexities of modern waste streams, Sorted has the potential to significantly improve recycling efficiency, reduce landfill waste, and create a more sustainable future for our planet. With the backing of Pi Labs and other investors, Sorted is likely to make a tangible impact on the global waste management landscape.

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