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Artificial Intelligence

The AI-Powered Robot Disrupting Recycling

March 8, 2024
x min read

The future of recycling might be changing. But, why?

What’s happening:

  • San Francisco, California robotics startup Glacier has announced they’ve raised $7.7M in new funding, led by New Enterprise Associates and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund

The big idea:

  • Glacier has built an artificial Intelligence powered robot that is capable of rapidly sorting materials for recycling, as well as preventing plastics and metals from ending up in landfills
  • By leveraging artificial intelligence, Glacier’s robotics can identify different items from glass bottles, to aluminium cans, to being able to distinguish between grocery bags and trash bags
  • Glacier’s robotics are also capable of handling materials that could be potentially hazardous

By the numbers:

  • Glacier’s robotics can identify and accurately sort more than 30 different types of materials
  • Approximately 50% of materials that are actually recyclable end up in landfills in the United States

Going deeper:

  • While recycling helps lower pollution and greenhouse gases, it also has enormous potential to significantly lower emissions from new manufacturing by supplying recycled feedstock
  • As part of their investment, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) will launch a pilot project with Glacier to attempt to find new materials that can be recycled and repurposed for their own packaging

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