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Recyclers Turn to Robots After Waste Import Bans

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Capturing high-value components from the waste stream.

Roboticists think that computer vision, neural networks, and modular robotics can enable a more intelligent, flexible approach to recycling.

Credit: Bloomberg

Waste import bans have prompted many companies to use robotic technologies to enhance their processing capabilities.

Goods must be broken down into their constituent components in order to recycle in a cost-effective, comprehensive, and safe way.

Artificial intelligence-enabled robotics can sort and disassemble items based on logos, color, shape, texture, and other visual cues.

Said AMP Robotics' Chris Wirth, "You can categorize and subcategorize, and the robotics are getting smarter as a result of artificial intelligence."

This becomes especially important given that more waste is electronic, containing valuable gold, silver, platinum, and cobalt.

Researchers at Loughborough University in the U.K. are working on a robotic dissembler for recycling economics.

Loughborough's Shahin Rahimifard views the automotive sector as a prime target for more recycling, given that cars are being built with more electronics and electric vehicles contain higher-value raw materials.

From Financial Times
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