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Is artificial intelligence the future of waste disposal?

A pioneering programme in the United States is showing that AI and robotics could play an important role in the future of waste disposal and recycling.

Alpine Waste & Recycling, a facility in Denver, USA has pioneered a project in which a robotic device has been proven to work more efficiently than its human colleagues. The project, which partnered with AMP robotics and the Carton Council of North America, has announced that their robotic machine was able to pick cartons at a rate of 60 per minute - 20 more than human workers found possible.

The robot, named Clarke, after sci-fi author Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, is equipped with spider-like arms and custom grippers which allows it to separate cartons fast and effectively. Designed by AMP robotics founder Matanya Horowitz the robot is able to quickly identify and pick contaminated objects out of the assembly line that are classed as unsuitable and could contaminate a batch of recycling.

This latest robotic trial follows on from Apple’s success with recycling robot ‘Liam’ who currently dissembles 1.2 million phones every year for the tech giant. Apple’s pioneering robotic worker helps to disassemble a variety of apple products extracting valuable aluminium, copper, platinum, silver, tin and gold reducing the need for mining of precious materials.

Where traditional types of sorting technology would rely on coding for it to differentiate between contaminated and uncontaminated materials, robotic systems are able to learn from example and can begin to understand what to look out for by learning from sample materials.

While in theory robotics could be an enormous help in the UK too, where recycling rates have been getting worse, critics are quick to insist that robotic aids remain expensive and cannot yet handle the complexities of waste management.

Here at LSPS recycling is of great importance to us and we help businesses and individuals all across Leicestershire to reduce the amount of their waste that ends up at landfill sites. Our Waste Transfer Station is open to traders and has an extensive range of state of the art equipment.

To find out how about we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807, or visit our website for further information.

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