Greyparrot, an AI startup using computer vision technology to monitor, analyse and sort tonnes of waste at scale, has closed a £8.9 million Series A funding round.

The investment, led by Una Terra, with participation from investors including Closed Loop Partners, Unreasonable Collective and SpeedInvest will enable Greyparrot to grow its global footprint, expand to new waste types to include some of the world’s heaviest polluting industries, and double down on its research and development.

To date, there has been limited data on the 2.1 billion tonnes of waste produced each year and this means there has been no systematic transparency on its composition or accountability for how waste is managed. This goes some way to explain why recycling rates have remained at 10% at best. 

Despite consumers’ best efforts to recycle, poor packaging design and ineffective sorting means that much of what goes into recycling bins still ends up in landfill. Greyparrot’s investment comes as mounting regulation fuelled by consumer demand continues to put pressure on the $1.6 trillion waste management industry to clean up the planet.

Since its inception in 2019, the Greyparrot AI-powered computer vision system has analysed over ten billion packaging items in sorting plants to increase recycling rates and introduce accountability to the waste value chain. Its customers cover 60% of the waste management market including industry leaders such as Suez, Biffa and Veolia. The unprecedented data the company has gathered on product packaging is directly impacting policy and packaging design, enabling data-backed decisions to be made by stakeholders along the entire waste value chain. 

Additionally, suppliers of recycling hardware have integrated the Greyparrot AI model into their sorting machinery and robots. 

Greyparrot AI monitoring unit

“Waste has been recognised as the fourth biggest contributor to climate change, yet the data surrounding it has been sparse at best,” said Mikela Druckman, co-founder and CEO. 

“This is a huge missed opportunity. We are putting a monetary value on waste – something that is perceived to have a negative value. Providing access to granular waste data can also have a big impact at a macro level, helping to shape government policies around recycling and influencing the decisions producers make about their packaging.”

Biffa, a sustainable leader in the UK’s waste and recycling industry, is trialling the Greyparrot system at its Plastics Recovery Facility in Wigan. “The technology has the potential to give us great visibility into our operations and directly aligns with our vision of enabling a circular economy,” said site manager Ian McSpirit. 

“We’re using the systems to provide real-time analysis of the purity of our PET output material.”

Greyparrot AI composition analysis

Luca Zerbini, previously the VP of Sustainability at Amcor and now Partner at ESG-focused VC fund Una Terra, said: “From the first meeting, we knew we wanted to lead this round: Greyparrot has a stellar founding team with a wealth of industry experience across waste management, AI and machine learning, a technology solution that works with existing infrastructure, and industry-leading customer satisfaction rates which is the best predictor of significant growth ahead.”

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