29 September 2021 – Recycleye partners with re3 and FCC Environment to install England’s first retrofittable AI-powered waste-picking robot at their Materials Recycling Facility in Reading.

re3 has announced the introduction of the country’s first retrofittable AI-powered robotic waste picking system of its kind at its Reading, Berkshire site. re3, the waste management partnership between FCC Environment and Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham Borough Councils, is partnering with intelligent waste management start-up, Recycleye to install the system. It is expected to be operational from Autumn 2021.

The waste-picking robot, known as Recycleye Robotics, is able to perform the physical tasks of identifying, picking and placing materials at a rate of 55 successful picks per minute. The intelligent picking system is powered by Recycleye Vision, an AI computer vision system, which detects all individual items on waste streams by material and object. The AI system which will sit on top of the facility’s existing conveyor belts will provide the Reading site with total visibility on their waste streams enabling re3 to improve the efficiency and operations of their recycling processes.

“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Recycleye to implement the first of its kind AI robot in England at our site in Reading. As a partnership, our vision is to provide residents with a high performing service that benefits the whole re3 community, the introduction of this exciting technology is a key step in helping us do that”

Members of re3’s Joint Waste Disposal Board, Cllr Mrs Dorothy Hayes MBE, Bracknell Forest Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Chairman of the Joint Waste Disposal Board, Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods & Communities and Cllr Parry Batth, Wokingham Borough Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Leisure

"We are thrilled to have installed the first AI-powered waste robot in England on behalf of re3. In our commitment to continual improvement and innovation at FCC Environment, we believe that it is important to be forward-thinking and adapt to new technologies, especially when it will help to improve the efficiency of the recycling progress.”

Rory Brien, FCC Environment's General Manager at re3

“The installation of Recycleye Robotics at re3’s Reading facility showcases how such technology can deliver genuine benefits to local authorities and waste management companies across the UK. Recycleye has partnered with FANUC, one of the world’s largest robotic manufacturers, to develop a retrofittable and affordable automated sorting solution for the waste management industry.”

Victor Dewulf, Recycleye CEO

Artificial intelligence is already helping to improve efficiency across many different industries and sectors across the country.

To date, the limited availability of scalable recognition technologies has meant that manual waste pickers have been used to identify and extract high value materials. However, the breakthrough of 21st century technologies such as the solutions put forward by Recycleye have opened up new possibilities for significantly improving recycling rates.