In the ever-evolving landscape of waste management and recycling, 2024 brings forth a myriad of technological trends shaping the industry. From innovations in waste tracking to advancements in chemical recycling, several startups are leading the way. In this article, we explore eight prominent recycling technology trends that are set to make a significant impact on the sector this year.

1. Internet of Waste

The incorporation of IoT technology is revolutionizing waste management and recycling processes. Startups like Bintel from Sweden and from the US are employing IoT-enabled sensors in trash bins and recycling stations. These sensors facilitate real-time monitoring of waste levels, optimizing collection schedules and enhancing operational efficiency.

2. Chemical Recycling

Driven by sustainable development goals, chemical recycling methods are gaining prominence. Companies like Refiberd in the US and Plastic Back in Israel are utilizing innovative processes to break down waste materials into high-quality alternatives for manufacturing. This approach not only reduces the reliance on virgin raw materials but also addresses environmental concerns.

3. Recycling Robots

To overcome challenges in mechanical recycling operations, startups like 2B0 and Ursa Robotics are introducing recycling robots. These robots employ AI-powered systems to automate sorting processes, improving efficiency and reducing operational costs for materials recovery facilities.

4. Waste Valorization

Waste recovery companies, exemplified by startups like SBS Thermal Technologies in Spain and Avris Environment Technologies in India, are focusing on waste valorization. This involves converting waste into energy and other valuable products through biological and chemical means. Such solutions contribute to reducing waste in landfills and generating additional revenue streams.

5. Artificial Intelligence

AI is being leveraged to automate material analysis, sorting, and picking tasks in plastic recycling facilities. Companies like Sortera Alloys and BANQloop are utilizing AI, machine learning, and computer vision to enhance quality control, optimize waste collection routes, and improve overall recycling performance.

6. Green Waste Management

Startups such as BicyCompost in France and Biovert Protein in Thailand are addressing the environmental impact of food waste. These companies focus on upcycling organic waste into biofuel, fertilizers, and high-protein animal feed, contributing to a more sustainable waste management approach.

7. Material Life Cycle Extension

Recycling technologies play a crucial role in extending material life cycles. Ever Resource in the UK and Fili Pari in Spain are among the startups advancing material life cycle extension by implementing advanced recycling solutions that produce high-quality secondary materials.

8. Big Data & Analytics

The recycling industry is increasingly utilizing big data and analytics to identify inefficiencies and streamline operations. Startups like Waste Labs in Singapore and Recyda in Germany are providing platforms that optimize waste logistics and assess packaging recyclability, contributing to a more data-driven and efficient recycling ecosystem.

As we navigate through 2024, these recycling technology trends showcase the industry’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. These advancements not only improve operational efficiency but also contribute significantly to addressing environmental challenges associated with waste management.