The Dutch plant and equipment supplier Bollegraaf is forging a strategic partnership with and purchasing a stake in Greyparrot, a British company specialising in AI waste analytics. As part of the agreement, Bollegraaf will transfer its AI vision business to Greyparrot and invest €11.8m in Greyparrot, obtaining a non-controlling, minority stake in the group in the process. Bollegraaf said that it would also become the global distributor and strategic partner for Greyparrot’s Analyzer, which evaluates waste streams in recycling facilities in 14 countries using AI camera systems.
Under the agreement, Greyparrot will acquire "Bollegraaf’s vision-based computing intellectual property and esteemed AI development team." Greyparrot will also open its first office in mainland Europe in the Netherlands.
The partnership aims to retrofit thousands of existing waste and plastic sorting facilities with advanced AI capabilities to significantly boost recycling rates and quantify material emissions. Together, Bollegraaf and Greyparrot would "bring forth revolutionary smart recycling plants that are fully automated and agile" in order to unlock value from waste streams while diverting millions of tonnes of waste away from incineration and landfilling. Greyparrot and Bollegraaf are also jointly committed to developing additional recycling solutions that combining the strengths of the companies.
Bollegraaf said that its share of over 50 per cent of the global market for recycling plants and turnkey recycling solutions put it in a good position to provide physical infrastructure. For its part, Greyparrot would contribute its proven ability to integrate AI waste analytics into hardware and software systems. In 2023, Greyparrot’s Analyzer analysed more than 25 billion waste objects and characterised them into more than 70 categories in real time to reveal seven layers of data, including material type, financial value and greenhouse gas emissions.
With around 5,500 waste sorting plants around the globe currently handling dry recyclables, there was a critical need to build more modern next-generation sorting facilities and retrofit older ones with new technologies, such as AI, Bollegraaf said. By doing so, plants could speed up processing time and improve recycling rates. According to Bollegraaf, 40 per cent of waste sorting is still performed manually, even in advanced economies. AI and the data it unlocks in real-time would help to digitise and automate systems, said the sorting and recycling specialist.
"The future is clear: 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 maximise their return on investment," said Edmund Tenfelde, CEO of Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions.
"It’s time for a revolutionary leap in how we value, capture, and manage our waste. We’re excited to partner with Bollegraaf, and add to our team of experts in artificial intelligence and deep learning, to address this challenge and pave the way for the waste industry's largest rollout of AI to date," commented Mikela Druckman, CEO of Greyparrot.