Updated: Oct 20, 2021
How Europe can manage decreasing natural resources with artificial intelligence and industrial know-how
Recycleye, a start-up developing disruptive waste management technologies, founded by Forbes 30 under 30 awardees Victor Dewulf and Peter Hedley, and eolos, specialists in industrial knowledge working towards engineering the future, founded by former President and Head of Engineering at Bombardier Transportation Pierre-Yves Cohen and Henri Cuin, former Senior Director of Group Project Controlling at Bombardier, have partnered up to change how Europe deals with waste.
With an estimated $2 trillion worth of waste thrown away each year globally, of which only 8 percent is recycled. Recycleye has been on a mission to boost these numbers since its inception in 2019, deploying their team of technologists and creatives to develop an AI-based waste sorting technology to bring transparency and traceability to the waste management industry.
As new entrants to the market, the intelligent waste management start-up Recycleye, and sustainable business and operations consultancy eolos, partnered in early 2020. Over the past 12 months, eolos has worked with Recycleye to scale the start-ups’ operations from research and development to commercialisation in the European market.
Artificial Intelligence optimizes operations of waste facilities
Recycleye’s first technology, Recycleye Vision, replicates the power of human vision to identify all individual items in waste streams — broken down by material and object. The London-based start-up has installed over 10 of its world-leading AI vision systems across the UK and France, to optimise the operations of waste facilities.
Recycleye will also be installing Recycleye Robotics, an intelligent robotic picking system, in waste facilities later this year. Powered by Recycleye Vision, the modular robotic picker, developed jointly with FANUC, performs the physical tasks of identifying, picking and placing material at a rate exceeding manual sorting.
Cooperation contributes to the transformation of industry
As an early partner of Recycleye, eolos played a pivotal role in bringing Recycleye’s novel solutions to the French market. With more than 25 years of experience in the aeronautics and railway sectors, eolos act as early-stage partners and investors for start-ups whose technologies support the shift of heavy industries to a more sustainable and circular economy.
“I am convinced that the industry needs startups speed and innovations to achieve and accelerate its race toward a more sustainable trajectory. By bringing Artificial Intelligence to the waste management industry in such a fast-growing way, Recycleye is the perfect example of the disruption this sector requires. Our collaboration with them is perfectly aligned with eolos positioning as industrial partners and project managers of initiatives and projects that contribute to the transformation of the industry”, says eolos co-founder Pierre-Yves Cohen.
A commercially viable product in under one year
With a vision to bring innovation to the waste management industry, eolos partnered with Recycleye to propel the company’s technologies into the French waste market. Since early 2020, the two companies worked in stealth mode to structure Recycleye’s initial product roadmap. Utilising eolos’ extensive industry network, Recycleye were successful in securing a pilot program, with one of France’s leading waste operators. To ensure the success of the first pilot, eolos worked closely with Recycleye to structure the company’s product roadmap and articulate it with an operational and project roadmaps. The success of this initial pilot was instrumental in scaling Recycleye’s solutions to become a commercially viable product in under a year.
Chief Executive Officer at Recycleye, Victor Dewulf adds: “Due to eolos’ early and continued commercial support, Recycleye has successfully scaled from one pilot in France to now a market viable product being sold to the largest waste management companies in Europe. We look forward to continue working together with eolos to transform the recycling industry for years to come.”
Sustainable trajectory for the recycling industry
To date, the complexity of Material Recovery Facilities and the cost of generating output materials of suitable qualities has hindered the impact that these facilities can have on a country’s recycling rate. However, technological advances such as the ones put forward by Recycleye have opened up new possibilities for significantly improving the recovery of materials for recycling and reuse.
eolos’ reputation as change leaders, combined with Recycleye’s agility and innovation is accelerating the waste management industry’s race towards a more sustainable trajectory. Through their shared mission to digitize and automate the European recycling industry, aligned with the EU objectives and the review of the Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste, Recycleye and eolos will continue to work together to transform waste facilities across western Europe using 21st century technology.
eolos is an industrial consulting and investment company partnering up with corporations to embed environmental sustainability in the daily business operations. Founded in 2019 by Pierre-Yves Cohen and Henri Cuin, the team includes dedicated specialists from all over the world, with a wide range of backgrounds and more than 25 years of experience in different sectors of the industry.
Recycleye is using artificial intelligence and robotics to bring transparency, traceability and accountability to waste flows, enabling businesses to profit from their waste streams. The company is tapping into the trillion-dollar automation market that currently exists within the waste management industry. Recycleye is creating disruptive technology that is commoditising waste, in turn shaping removal chains into an even more valuable market opportunity than supply chains.