New recycling technology has been developing an artificial intelligence to help programs to sort plastics effectively and affordably in order to stop recyclable materials from being sent to landfills.
Despite the best intentions, the sad reality is that only a fraction of the plastics we dutifully separate from the rest of our waste is ever truly recycled. And one of the biggest contributing factors to this state of affairs is that plastic recycling isn’t properly sorted. The AI is meant to help the world overcome its struggle with sending recyclable plastics to landfills.
“The recycling process is quite complicated. If you go to the supermarket or for the daily recycling you need to know how to properly place all the recyclable (items), like bottles or others, into the right bins. You need to know the labels, know the icons,” explains University of Technology Sydney School of Electrical and Data Engineering’s Dr. Xu Wang.
With this in mind, Wang and a team of researchers from the university’s Global Big Data Technologies Centre (GBDTC) have designed a recycling technology that can do this sorting automatically. The “smart bin” device is equipped with an arsenal of advanced technology, combining artificial intelligence, robotics and machine vision. Suffice to say, this is no average wheelie bin.
More importantly, Wang says, the bin can recognize different types of plastics including PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene). “This machine can classify different (types) of waste including glasses, metal cans and plastics,” says Wang.
Why this recycling technology is an example of a circular economy
Globally, it is estimated that more than USD 200 billion worth of recyclable materials goes unrecovered annually. The economics and efficiency of identifying and sorting paper, plastics, metals, and other recyclables from the waste stream creates a major challenge for material recovery. In recent years, the waste industry has also faced stricter international quality standards for contamination-free imports of recyclable materials, leaving the industry in search of cost-effective ways to meet these requirements.
Waste is not just a problem, waste can be a solution where non-recyclable waste is turned into a valuable resource for the whole society.
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Original statements for Hydrogen Fuel News