- Recycling equipment company Bollegraaf has entered into a strategic partnership with Greyparrot, an AI waste analytics company, in an effort to provide AI capabilities to more MRF equipment.
- Bollegraaf will invest $12.8 million in Greyparrot, obtaining a non-controlling stake in the company. Bollegraaf will also become a worldwide distributor of Greyparrot's Analyzer technology, which uses an AI-enabled camera system to monitor waste streams.
- In return, Greyparrot will acquire Bollegraaf’s AI vision business, including its “vision-based computing intellectual property,” according to an announcement from the companies. Greyparrot will also take on Bollegraaf’s AI development team.
The announcement comes as MRF operators are making major investments in technology, including in AI systems they hope will boost recycling rates and offer detailed insight into material characterization, contamination, sorting improvements and potential new revenue streams.
London-based Greyparrot says its new partnership with the Netherlands-based recycling equipment company is key to retrofitting “thousands” of existing MRFs and plastics recovery facilities with AI capabilities. They also anticipate collaborating on other new products, the companies said.
“Getting AI waste analytics in the hands of more plant managers, more quickly, will provide the industry the data-driven insights needed to build and operate smart MRFs that unlock new value from recovered materials and decrease the environmental impact of waste,” said Greyparrot CEO Mikela Druckman in a statement.
Ambarish Mitra, co-founder of Greyparrot, said in an interview that the partnership is relevant for MRFs in the U.S., particularly because Van Dyk Recycling Solutions is the U.S. distributor for Bollegraaf equipment and has either built or serviced some of the country’s larger MRFs. U.S. MRFs are “a very important and large strategic market for us in 2024 and onwards,” he said.
Greyparrot’s AI technology is installed in 14 countries and at facilities in six U.S. cities in California, Kentucky, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Minnesota, he said.
Bollegraaf has an estimated 50% market share in the “global recycling plant market,” giving Greyparrot an opportunity to embed AI waste analytics into well-established facility infrastructure, said Edmund Tenfelde, CEO of Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions, in a statement.
“To further increase recycling rates we need more insight and collaboration across the value chain. We have been looking to implement AI that can power fact-based and automated decision-making to provide our clients with a much more accurate overview of their waste composition and ultimately maximize their ROI,” he said.
Greyparrot says its Analyzer technology helped facilities assess more than 25 billion waste objects in 2023. The technology can characterize material into more than 70 categories and provide data on material type, financial value, brand and greenhouse gas emissions, it said.
MRFs are constantly seeing new types of materials enter their facilities, and “the world of material sciences is ever-evolving, so there’s always work to be done to catch up to producers,” Mitra said.
In addition to R&D work and equipment retrofits, the company is also collaborating with Closed Loop Partners on a study analyzing polypropylene in recycling streams to determine factors such as possible value chains, contamination factors and estimated volume of food grade material. Mitra expects that report to be complete in the next few months.
“It's important for us to work with stakeholders to learn up and downstream what's going on and how we can optimize. The goal is to improve circularity and bring maximum material back into the community instead of landfill and incinerators,” he said.