Meet JD Ambati, founder & CEO of EverestLabs, which developed an AI-enabled operating system to help MRFs recover more recyclable materials. In this episode of NothingWasted!, we spoke with Ambati about proactive system management, the keys to using MRF data in meaningful ways, EverestLabs' installation of robots on an inclining conveyor belt, and more.
Here is a sneak peek into the discussion:
Waste360: Can you tell us a little about your journey to founding EverestLabs?
Ambati: My background is chemical engineering and AI, and I spent a long time in ad tech, working with Fortune 1,000 brands. I took that experience and applied it toward understanding what was going on in the world of waste and recycling because I was challenged by my wife to solve some real problems. That was in 2017; fast forward to now, we have a growing company solving problems for the industry.
Waste360: How does your technology work to help MRFs recover more, cheaper?
Ambati: First and foremost, we worked on our software to make sure it knew what was happening in the MRF. With that layer figured out, we then applied AI to automation. In this context, how can we help operators use robotics in conjunction with their existing labor, to perform high-speed sorting? We brought economies of scale and [significant savings].
Waste360: I know that you’ve opened a robot operations center; how has that helped MRFs?
Ambati: It helps by us being another set of eyes and ears, on the ground, to help us understand remotely what is happening with our software and with our robots. And we can take preventative steps remotely as needed. We want the robotics solutions to be seamless.
Waste360: Do you see any other applications or opportunities for you guys to expand?
Ambati: We’re looking into C&D, electronics recycling, battery recycling, and other subcategories. But for now we’re focused on single-stream recycling, where we have not even scratched the surface. There are barely 600 robots worldwide; it’s almost like we’re at mile one of a marathon. I can see us integrating into big build-outs, and we want to collaborate with everybody; we are not going to build MRFs ourselves. We are excited to go deeper into the MRF and also tackle new areas that are strategic for us.
Listen to the full episode above.