AI-powered Sorted secures £1.65M to tackle global recycling crisis

Sorted uses computer vision, spectroscopy and coloured lasers driven by AI, to identify, differentiate, and pinpoint valuable items on recycling lines. 
AI-powered Sorted secures £1.65M to tackle global recycling crisis

Sorted, a London-based recycling tech company has raised £1.65 million in Seed funding.

Governments are increasing pressure to reduce reliance on single-use materials and increase recycled content. However, the waste industry is struggling to meet this demand because of the complexity behind sorting recycled materials such as plastic, compounding a missed $133 billion opportunity.

Sorted is tackling the global sustainability issue by enabling human pickers to better sort and recover targeted materials. Using computer vision, spectroscopy and coloured lasers driven by AI, their solution identifies, differentiates and pinpoints valuable items on recycling lines. 

This unique use of AI offers a digitised solution to a very physical problem.

In its first use case, Sorted has improved residual waste recovery by over 50 per cent by increasing picker performance. 

Instead of going into incineration, each item recovered represents additional revenue potential for Sorted’s customers and reduces carbon emissions.

Sorted was co-founded in 2022 by Arthur Goujon and Luis Espinosa. Goujon has over 15 years experience in waste management and tech, including as Head of Digital at the global waste management company SUEZ, and Espinosa has helped scale numerous unicorns over the past decade, including Uber, Rappi and DiDi.

Sorted’s customers include some of the largest waste management and recycling firms in the UK and France, including SUEZ UK and Cawleys.

Arthur Goujon, Co-Founder and CTO at Sorted, said: 

“Our mission is to help waste management companies sort their waste more effectively and maximise recovery of recyclable materials by aiding Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and Plastic Recovery Facilities (PRFs) in improving their workforce efficiency. 

Under pressure to comply with upcoming regulations such as the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, our customers actively seek ways to reduce the amount of carbon-heavy plastic they send to incineration and avoid increased fees. 

Our product addresses this and other industry challenges, enabling it to reduce its carbon footprint and increase the output and viability of recycled materials.”

Pi Labs led the round, which included Archipelago Ventures, Circular Plastics Accelerator, Conduit Connect, Antler and angel investors.

Faisal Butt, Founder and Managing Partner at Pi Labs, said: 

“Corporations risk running afoul of their own corporate sustainability goals unless they maximise their ability to obtain recycled materials. With the creation of their super pickers, 

Sorted has created a digitalised and sustainable solution to this problem while helping their customers contribute to a circular economy.*

“Arthur and Luis have tremendous experience individually and combined are a dynamic duo of founders.”

Fred Stinchcombe, Production Regional Manager at SUEZ UK, said: 

"The biggest challenge we have right now is continuously adapting what we do to what brings the most value: either reducing residual waste or achieving higher quality output, but without having to redesign our plants. 

Sorted is tackling exactly that; the team understands our operation and is leveraging technology in a pragmatic way to start adding value from the start.”

The new funding will enable Sorted to expand its business development and technical teams, accelerating its go-to-market strategy.”

Lead image: [founding team: Edward Rosten, Arthur Goujon (CTO), Luis Espinosa (CEO), Kate Pleteneva, and Robin Brown. Photo: uncredited. 

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