Recycling is an essential – if not particularly glamorous – part of fighting climate change. It’s no secret that the world has a serious trash problem. The U.S. alone generates 292.4 million tons of trash a year, or 4.9 pounds per person per day. Globally, we produce 380 million tons of plastic annually, half of which goes to single-use products.
Every year, the world dumps between 20-50 million metric tons of electronic waste and only 12.5% of it gets recycled. Tech gadgets and the clean energy technologies we need to fight climate change rely on critically finite minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese.
Mountains of trash, un-recycled plastics and a shortage of minerals necessary for clean energy transition threaten our ability to achieve a more sustainable world. That’s why we’re thrilled that the CEOs of AMP Robotics, Novoloop and Nth Cycle will join us on stage at TC Sessions: Climate and The Extreme Tech Challenge 2022 Global Finals on June 14 in Berkeley, California.
AMP’s recycling technology — a combination of computer vision, machine learning and robotic automation — can sort waste streams in ways that traditional systems can’t, and at a cost far lower than most waste-handling facilities. The robots can tell the difference between high and low-density plastics, sort for color, clarity, opacity and shapes like lids, tubs, clamshells and cups. In 2021, AMP doubled the number of robotic installations across 25 states, growing its U.S. fleet to nearly 200.
Founder and CEO Matanya Horowitz earned four bachelor’s degrees, in electrical engineering, computer science, applied mathematics, and economics, along with a master’s degree in electrical engineering, from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He holds a doctorate in control and dynamical systems from the California Institute of Technology.
Novoloop, a new U.S.-based startup that just raised $11 million in Series A financing led by Envisioning Partners, transforms plastic waste through its proprietary technology, ATOD (Accelerated Thermal Oxidative Decomposition). The company claims this process breaks down polyethylene (the most widely used plastic today) into chemical building blocks that can be synthesized into high-value products.
Co-founder and CEO Miranda Wang, a venture-backed climate tech entrepreneur is a Forbes 30 Under 30, UN Young Champion of the Earth and a Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius prize winner. She received her bachelor’s degree (Engineering Entrepreneurship, Philosophy, Molecular Biology) from UPenn and a bachelor’s of science from McGill University.
Nth Cycle, meanwhile, has developed a unique technology called electro-extraction. It lets recyclers and miners recover critical minerals from discarded batteries, low-grade ores and mine site waste using only electricity and carbon filters. It’s an environmentally-friendly, lower-cost alternative to current pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy processes.
Megan O’Connor is an environmental engineer and chemist. She founded Nth Cycle one day after defending her doctoral dissertation. She received her doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University and graduated from the second cohort of Innovation Crossroads at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
We’re looking forward to this conversation about the ways in which technology is transforming recycling into a powerful, efficient and cost-effective tool for fighting climate change. We also want to get a sense of each company’s roadmap and how effectively they can scale for even more growth.
TC Sessions: Climate 2022 is all about the growing wave of startups, technologies, scientists and engineers dedicated to saving our planet and, of course, the investors who finance them. Join us in-person on June 14 at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Auditorium. Register now and save $200.