AI and waste recognition – Why it works so well
In urban environments such as large cities like Akron, OH, one of the biggest problems is waste management. The combination of businesses and residential areas creates a lot of waste to manage. And it’s only getting worse – according to the World Bank, global waste generation is expected to increase by 70% by 2035. So how can we deal with all this trash?
One solution is to use artificial intelligence (AI) for waste recognition. AI can help us not only recognize different types of waste, but also sort them for recycling or reuse. Let’s take a look at how AI is being used for smarter waste management and why it works so well.
What is AI-powered waste management
The term “AI-powered waste management” simply refers to the use of artificial intelligence in relation to waste management. We might associate AI with computer chips, luxury cars and Big Data, but, in reality, AI is already being used in a variety of ways to manage the infrastructure around us – and that includes waste management.
For example, smart bins can be used to notify waste management companies when bins are full, meaning collection routes can be optimized, labor reduced and fuel saved. Alternatively, AI can be used to match people with nearby services and waste sites, ensuring that more waste is sent to recycling centers rather than landfills.
While there are different ways to use AI in the waste management industry, it is AI-powered garbage sorting that can truly revolutionize the industry and transform our environment.
What is AI-powered garbage sorting
When waste is thrown away, it must be sorted before valuable items can be recycled. This happens at a materials recovery facility, or sorting center, and the increasing value of recyclable materials means that there is a stronger economic case than ever for sorting and recovering materials that would have already been put away in landfills.
However, before waste can be recycled, it must be sorted and treated. This means that different types of waste must be separated. Separating paper from plastics or eliminating hazardous waste ensures that each type can be treated safely and appropriately, with the maximum amount of waste then sent for recycling. Recycled materials avoid being sent to landfill, with the resulting harmful environmental impact.
Until recently, garbage sorting was done by a combination of human workers and mechanical sorting and mindless machines. Now, intelligent waste sorting using artificial intelligence, combined with robotics, can streamline the task and increase the speed and accuracy with which waste can be sorted. It can even differentiate between food and non-food grade plastics, creating new markets with higher value yields due to increased purity.
Dumpster HQ Akron provides the equipment necessary for intelligent waste sorting. Our cutting-edge AI computer vision system scans waste and identifies materials into 28 different classes. With real-time data, plant managers can see exactly what the waste is and take appropriate action to ensure the efficiency of the waste sorting facility. Additionally, robotics can be used in combination to further automate the sorting process, using robotic technology to reach 33,000 picks in just 10 hours.
AI-driven robots are capable of working for long hours at a constant speed, allowing waste sorting to continue for an extended period of time, with AI-powered waste detection capability that is as accurate than the human eye.
For recycling facilities, this means improved yields, increased productivity and reduced costs, as well as an increase in the number of valuable materials sent for recycling.
How can AI help the environment
Artificial intelligence is changing the way we live and there is no doubt that it can have a positive impact on the environment. In the waste management industry, the potential impact of AI on the environment should not be overlooked.
Currently, a significant proportion of waste is sent to landfills (around 34% in the USA in 2022), sometimes even when the person throwing away the waste intends to recycle it. If waste is placed in the wrong recycling bin or if waste is mixed, for example, the added burden of sorting and separating waste may be considered excessive in terms of cost and time. In such cases, potentially recyclable materials may be unnecessarily recycled into landfills, where they produce greenhouse gases (GHGs), release toxins into the surrounding area and disrupt natural biodiversity.
However, when artificial intelligence is used for waste segregation, material recovery facilities can separate waste with the added benefits of AI robots capable of working for long periods of time consistently. This naturally increases the economic case for facilities undertaking this task and, in turn, reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills.
So the installation of AI garbage sorting technology has a direct and beneficial impact on the environment, as well as financial, operational and commercial benefits for waste management companies.
AI and circular economy
A circular economy promotes economic development through the reuse, repair, recycling and refurbishment of existing materials. When all materials are reused or recycled, waste is eradicated along with its negative impact on the environment.
It is often believed that transitioning to a circular economy and drastically reducing or eradicating waste is the ultimate way to protect the environment and this can certainly have a positive impact on our natural environment. Of course, how we treat waste and how much waste we recycle is a key tenant of a circular economy and making sustainable waste management profitable via AI garbage sorting takes us one step closer to this reality .
Use of advanced technologies in the waste management industry
Cutting-edge technologies, such as AI, computer vision and machine learning, are already used in our daily lives. From businesses using AI to do more sustainable business to homeowners in Ohio using artificial intelligence to reduce their energy consumption, there are countless ways technology can reduce our environmental impact.
However, when we apply AI to waste management on an industrial scale, we can see the greatest environmental and financial savings, which is why AI garbage sorting is such an important development.