French plastic recycling robotics company b:bot takes plastic bottles and shreds them on site, taking more lorries off the road and making 100% of the bottles offered recyclable. The robots are for public use, situated on the side of roads and in the likes of shopping centres and restaurant areas - users can either chose to take a cash reward for recycling or donate it as they watch their bottle turn to glitter.
The mix of robotics and AI reduces the volume of plastic by 90% - 'its value is tripled, eight recycling steps are eliminated and the carbon footprint of the process is reduced dramatically, all in a few seconds'.
b:bot kicked off in France in 2021, where it now has more than 500 robots doing their magic - it has collected 130 million bottles, rising by 500,000 bottles daily.
The start-up has raised €20 million from Eiffel Investment Group and the group’s long-standing shareholder Crédit Agricole Normandie-Seine Participations. Plans are to double the size of the robot workforce by the end of this year, expand into new markets and to take on the recycling of cans next.
“We are proud of Eiffel Essentiel’s arrival as a shareholder in b:bot, as well as the confidence shown in us by Crédit Agricole Nord-Seine Participations through its reinvestment. This investment will enable us to accelerate the production and roll-out of our b:bot solution while continuing our R&D effort, as innovation is a core part of our DNA”, says Benoit Paget, President and Founder of b:bot. “In the face of a global rPET market with a significant growth outlook but insufficient capacity, b:bot aims to become a major player in collection and recycling solutions. We are convinced that Eiffel Essentiel is the ideal partner to address this major challenge of the circular economy”.
The company has recently rolled out the robots in Portugal and has plans to tackle Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates next.
“We are delighted to have this opportunity to become shareholders in b:bot and its talented, ambitious and goal-oriented team”, says Romain Ohayon, Managing Director of the Eiffel Essentiel fund. “This investment is a perfect example of Eiffel Essentiel’s strategy to support the growth of future leaders of the energy and ecological transition. B:bot’s activity meets Sustainable Development Goals 12 (responsible consumption and production), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 14 (life below water). The company’s strong R&D culture is also fully aligned with our commitment to the TIBI and its French design to the France Relance label”.