AI recycling startup raises £1.65m for material sorting

Recycling technology business, Sorted, has raised £1.65 million in a seed funding round led by Pi Labs. 

The London-based business had other investors including Archipelago Ventures, Circular Plastics Accelerator, Conduit Connect, Antler and angel investors.  

Globally, the annual dumping of 2.12 billion tonnes of waste wreaks havoc on the environment, affecting air quality, ocean health and soil fertility. 

Due to this, Sorted has said governments are increasing pressure to reduce reliance on single-use materials and increase recycled content. 

However, the waste management sector faces challenges in meeting this demand due to the intricate process of sorting recycled materials like plastic, leading to a missed opportunity estimated at $133 billion. 

Arthur Goujon, co-founder and CTO at Sorted, said: “Under pressure to comply with upcoming regulations such as the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, our customers are actively seeking ways to reduce the number of materials such as carbon-heavy plastic they send to incineration and avoid increased fees.  

“Our product addresses this and other challenges facing the industry, enabling it to reduce its carbon footprint and increase the output and viability of recycled materials. We are thrilled to be supported by Pi Labs and our other investors. This new funding will enable us to expand our business development and technical teams, accelerating our go-to-market strategy.” 


Addressing this pressing sustainability issue, Sorted has emerged with a solution that it says enhances the ability of human pickers to efficiently sort and recover targeted materials.  

Leveraging computer vision, spectroscopy and coloured lasers driven by AI, Sorted’s technology identifies, distinguishes and pinpoints valuable items on recycling lines. This innovative application of AI provides a digital remedy to a predominantly physical challenge. 

In its initial deployment, Sorted has said it has improved residual waste recovery by over 50% through enhanced picker performance. Instead of being incinerated, each recovered item now represents additional revenue potential for Sorted’s clients while also reducing carbon emissions.  

The startup has already secured partnerships with major waste management and recycling companies in the UK and France, including Suez UK and Cawleys. 


Claire Shrewsbury, director of Insights and Innovations at WRAP, said: “With the UN climate secretary warning we must urgently step-up action on emissions in the next two years, it’s imperative that we fast-track moves to a more circular economy.  

“Capturing valuable materials at end of life for remanufacture helps reduce pressure on virgin resources and emissions. Sorted is a company that will be key to the recycling sector capturing more valuable material, and the Circular Plastics Accelerator is pleased to support its important expansion.  

“Technology solutions which can achieve scale quickly are critical to the sector’s ability to adapt in the near term, and by enhancing and augmenting the ability of the workforce to get more material out of existing waste streams, we can see barriers to market entry being significantly reduced.” 

To find out more about changes in the sector, visit the National Letsrecycle.com Conference on 6 June at QEII Centre in London. To book tickets to attend or for more information please click here.

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