Metaspectral secures follow-up funding from CleanBC Plastics Action Fund
Canadian PlasticsCanadian Plastics Recycling Research & Development
The Vancouver-based company's software uses artificial intelligence to sort plastics at recycling facilities.
Metaspectral, a Vancouver, B.C.-based software developer, has secured $419,000 from the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund, building on previous funding of $300,000 that the company received from the initial launch of the fund in 2021.
According to Metaspectral officials, the firm’s technology makes it possible for recycling facilities to sort previously indistinguishable materials at the polymer level in real-time using computer vision and integrated robotics. This means that large quantities of plastic can be sorted and recycled more efficiently and accurately. The technology is already being used by the largest recycling company in Canada, Metaspectral said, and has also attracted what it calls “significant international interest.”
“Our technology uses deep learning to analyze hyperspectral imagery from specialized cameras placed over a conveyor belt carrying recyclables; the images captured contain information from across the electromagnetic spectrum, making it possible for our algorithms to identify materials immediately and sort them accordingly,” said Metaspectral co-founder and chief technology officer Migel Tissera.
This new financing will support further development of the technology, Metaspectral said, with an emphasis on differentiating homopolymer high-density polyethylene (HDPE), often found in milk containers, from copolymer HDPE, typically found in containers used to store automotive oil and detergents.
In 2022, milk containers were added to British Columbia’s deposit-refund system, which Metaspectral says adds up to 40 million additional containers to the province’s recycling system annually.
“Historically, it’s been impossible for humans or traditional cameras to differentiate between plastics at this level, meaning that to date, various types of plastics have been recycled in bulk together,” said Metaspectral co-founder and CEO Francis Doumet. “When post-consumer recycled plastic can’t have its purity guaranteed, its quality and market value decrease significantly.”
British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy dedicated $10 million to the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund in 2022 for projects to reduce plastic pollution, following an initial $5 million investment in the initiative in 2021.
Metaspectral was founded by Doumet and Tissera in 2019.
Print this page