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Greyparrot's AI/NIR Waste Recognition System receives UKRI funding

Alisa PritchardAlisa Pritchard, Mar 03, 2022

Greyparrot's AI/NIR Waste Recognition System receives UKRI funding

UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge has announced £30 million in funding collaborative projects that support the achievement of the UK Plastics Pact - representing the largest government investment into SSPP to date.

 

Greyparrot, in collaboration with Blue Green Vision, have been awarded £488,000 by UKRI to develop a hybrid AI/Near-Infrared (NIR) waste recognition and monitoring system to provide automated, cost-effective, accurate recognition of plastics waste at scale. Critically, the system will enable the identification of all types of material and packaging, including the recognition of black plastics and mixed material packaging (e.g sleeved bottles) that confuse current NIR systems; but also distinguishing packaging by usage (e.g food vs non food) and differentiating polymers with a high granularity. The live recognition data will be integrated with sorting machines and other equipment to add this unique cognitive intelligence to existing infrastructure.

 

New unit 2021

 

This will, in turn, increase the accuracy of plastics sorting including food and non-food grade packaging separation. Furthermore, this recognition capability will be extended to other materials such as scrap metal, WEEE and fibre.

 

Greyparrot AI waste recognition-01


Many leading Waste Management companies have already utilized Greyparrot’s AI products including Biffa, A2A and Suez. Greyparrot’s customers will be among the first to benefit from this characterisation capability including third-party systems using the company’s AI Vision Integration (API). This is the case with ACI Chemical who currently use Greyparrot’s AI model to power their sorting robots. 

 

 



Mikela Druckman, Co-founder & CEO of Greyparrot, added:

“We are thrilled to be working with Blue Green Vision on a new approach to optimise material auditing and sorting at scale, contributing to a stronger UK recycling system. Our ultimate goal is to support the UK Plastics Pact's target which calls for 70% of plastics packaging to be recycled or composted.”

Paul Davidson, Challenge Director for UKRI’s SSPP Challenge, commented: 

“If successful, these projects have the potential to rewrite the relationship we all have with plastic packaging.”

 

About Greyparrot: Greyparrot provides AI Waste Recognition software that automates waste composition analysis to monitor, audit, and sort large waste flows at scale. Greyparrot empowers waste managers, producers and regulators with better data analytics, transparency and automation in the recycling sector. Greyparrot insights can increase recycling rates, reduce the cost of manual sampling, enhance product quality, and empower next generation smart systems.

About Blue Green Vision: Blue Green Vision is a technology company providing automatic NIR-based optical systems for identifying each type of plastic polymer. The company’s hyperspectral camera will be used in Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs) so that plastics are accurately and efficiently separated, and the materials reused.

About UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge: The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) challenge aims to establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastic packaging for consumer products with £60 million in funding which will be complemented by £149 million from industry. The challenge will deliver cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025. Part of this funding will develop and demonstrate at scale new business models for reuse and refill as well as behavioural change. Delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), more detail on the SSPP Challenge can be found here.

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