Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Sortera

Enabling the circular economy with AI


The system allows for the domestic recycling of metal alloys

Spotted: In the eight years from 2020 to 2028, analysts expect the global metals recycling market value to grow from almost $53 billion (around €50 billion) to more than $91 billion (around €86 billion). As the industry grows, it is vital that circular systems are as efficient as possible to have the maximum positive impact on the planet.

To avoid shipping scrap metal halfway around the world for recycling, US-based material sorting company Sortera Technologies has created an intelligent sorting method that works at an industrial scale. 

The company’s goal is to increase local and regional circularity by reintroducing upcycled and recycled metals into the domestic economy. Doing so not only reduces reliance on imports – it also cuts the emissions footprint of any industry that relies heavily on metal in sheet form, for extrusion or casting. The process also more equitably deals with waste by keeping it in the country instead of shipping it to a nation with a developing economy.  

The technology was created to work at an industrial scale as a means of reducing the waste created by the automobile industry. Sortera’s system combines artificial intelligence (AI) with advanced sensors and analytics to sort metal alloys at high speed and with enhanced accuracy. The resulting materials are available for use in different sizes and with different combinations of elements, including large and small pieces for casting, a blend specifically for use as sheet metal, and another mix for extrusion.  

Sortera opened its first full-scale facility in Indiana in 2023 and is currently being commissioned to handle up to 220 million pounds of mixed metal waste per year. The company plans to use the $30 million (around €28 million) of series C funding that it raised recently to expand its North American operations and begin exploring new markets.  

From e-waste turned into solar lamps to an online marketplace for scrap metal, innovators around the world are showcasing solutions to the world’s waste streams in the Springwise database.

Written By: Keely Khoury



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