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SF robotics-AI company partners with Amazon on next generation of recycling

A San Francisco-based robotics company is front and center in a push to decarbonize after getting a huge boost from online retail giant Amazon.

Glacier is a robotics-artificial intelligence company whose ambitious mission is to end waste. It focuses on recycling – specifically developing the technology to streamline sorting through recycled materials.

From a climate change perspective, recycling is a big problem that a lot of people have been working on for a long time, yet there remain challenges to reclaiming and repurposing volumes of waste.

According to Glacier, Americans send 1.4 million tons of waste to recycling facilities every week. Co-founders Rebecca Hu and Areeb Malik say they both came from Big Tech, and what they saw there was cutting-edge techonology that wasn’t being used to solve critical problems.

“We both actually had the impetus to take modern technology, modern AI, modern robotics and apply it to a problem that really needed solving so our planet isn’t paying the price for our consumption,” Malik said.

Amazon took notice and recently invested in Glacier to help the company work towards its goal of zero emissions by 2040.

“Glacier is really the next evolution in that step to allow us to better pick out certain commodities as they are going across the recycling mainstream and learn about what plastics, what cardboards are actually successfully being recycled,” Amazon’s Nick Ellis said.

Once Amazon understands what is successfully being recycled, they plan to change their packaging on the front end so recycling isn’t just reactive, which is how both companies see the next generation of recycling.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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