Zabble receives EPA contract for AI project

The $400,000 contract was awarded through EPA’s Small Business Research program.

Zabble Inc. logo

Image courtesy of Zabble Inc.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, says it has awarded Walnut Creek, California-based Zabble Inc. a $400,000 contract for the further development of a zero-waste management platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI). The contract was awarded through the EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The EPA says the award granted to Zabble is one of eight given in 2022.

“The technology that this research will advance reduces waste going to landfills, which is critical to protecting communities from pollution and reducing emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas,” EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman says. “As EPA celebrates America Recycles Day, we are proud to further efforts like Zabble’s to improve how communities across the country recycle and compost.”

Zabble says its platform, Zabble Zero, targets healthcare organizations, universities and corporate campuses that want to better track their waste, increase recycling and reduce landfill-bound materials. Zabble Zero uses AI to identify a waste bin’s fullness and contaminants from photos and recommend adjusting container sizes to reduce disposal and costs. So far in 2022, Zabble says its clients have measured more than 15,000 tons of materials and prevented more than 100 tons from going to landfills.

Zabble says the concept for Zabble Zero was proven through research that was supported by a prior EPA SBIR contract awarded in 2021. During that first research phase, Zabble says it tested AI-based technology that learned to automatically detect and classify materials in the wrong bins from a cell phone image and notify users where to find the contaminants.

With the new SBIR funding, the company says it will expand Zabble Zero into a “command center” for efficiently managing waste management and workflows and material flows across an organization.

“We are excited for this opportunity as it continues to show that the EPA is prioritizing the improvement of the recycling infrastructure and education in the U.S.,” Zabble founder and CEO Nik Balachandran says. “The Zabble Zero platform is the first artificial intelligence-powered software platform built for generators to efficiently manage their material streams and workflows from disposal to hauling.”

According to the EPA, it issues an annual SBIR solicitation nationwide for technology proposals for specific high priority environmental topics. Proposals are evaluated on their technical merit, potential for commercialization and environmental impact in the given topic area.

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