Amazon teams with recycling robot firm to track package waste

Amazon Investment in Recycling Robot Firm Glacier to Track Package Waste

Amazon produces a substantial amount of trash, with estimates suggesting the company used around 214 million pounds of single-use plastic in its packaging in 2021. However, nonprofit organization Oceana puts this figure closer to 700 million pounds. To help reach its net-zero carbon emissions target by 2040, Amazon has taken steps such as reducing package weights and replacing plastics with paper. Recently, they announced an investment through the Climate Pledge Fund and plan to use Glacier’s technology to determine where their packaging goes after leaving consumers’ homes.

Nick Ellis, Principal at Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, explains, “Our investment in Glacier is about creating a sustainable circular economy supply chain.” With Glacier, Amazon aims to discover the final stage of the packaging lifecycle – understanding if it enters the recycling stream or becomes waste.

Glacier offers two main products. First, there’s a robot designed for recycling facilities to separate various materials. Second, there’s an AI scanner, which Amazon is testing. Co-founder Areeb Malik shares, “It enables both facilities and brands like Amazon to comprehend what’s occurring within their facility or concerning their items – or generally regarding plastics at large.”

Currently, Glacier collaborates with clients in ten states. They focus on forming relationships with corporations and government entities, including Amazon and the City of Phoenix, which is implementing the technology to analyze its recycling streams. Additionally, they have secured a considerable grant from the Michigan Department of Environment for further tech deployments.

The Climate Pledge Fund leads a $7.7 million funding round alongside NEA, AlleyCorp, Overture VC, and VSC Ventures. Amazon’s investment will allow them to expand their offerings and contribute significantly to the circular economy.

Amazon teams with recycling robot firm to track package waste