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How Robotics and AI Can Make Recycling Facilities Safer

Many employees working in the recycling centers have suffered life-threatening injuries and some lost their lives. These people come into contact with very harmful substances such as sharp needles and toxic chemicals which can cause burns.

Since waste must be recycled, technological advancements have come in hand to ensure the safety of the workers as well as efficiency in the recycling plants.

The use of robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are two technological advancements whose use helps recycle waste products without coming into contact with human beings.

The majority of waste management companies have started using the AI’s waste management system and so far the results are positive and rewarding.

  1. How safe is robotics?
  2. What are the Advantages of Using Technology in waste recycling?
  3. Conclusion

Recycling with Robotics

How safe is robotics?

Thanks to the AI and robotics that can do the sorting of waste released from production companies. The technology helps in sorting products of different materials like plastics from aluminum, greased from non-greased items. For instance, AI-powered technology can separate plastics made of the same material, where some contain contaminated chemicals from clean ones and set them apart.

The Artificial Intelligent waste sorting process is very accurate. From the combined power of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the sorting-robots can identify different waste products in the conveyer, pick them and put them in the right bins for recycling within seconds.

Dumping waste into landfills can be choking to our environment especially metallic substances that don’t decompose. With the use of robots, the used metals can be recycled after sorting them according to their chemical composition. The environment is then safer from hazardous trash.

The technology is designed to observe not only what it is picking but also learn the surrounding environment.

The AI which targets to identify and sort plastic material for instance still identifies other materials in the conveyor giving feedback on what is going on in the whole process. Furthermore, the robot can be able to avoid “foreign” materials to avoid contaminating the already sorted targets.

In so doing, the recycled product comes out pure.

Adopting the use of robotics and AI is proving more efficient and time-saving to waste management plants. A lot of human labor would be put in place to sort out maybe plastics from metal before recycling. That’s a gone case now as the new AI-tech sorts out the waste products into different categories within a very short time.

The safety of the employees is assured given that the AI tech identifies hazardous items in the stream and robotics pick them out during the sorting stage.

What are the Advantages of Using Technology in waste recycling?

Using a robot keeps the employees safe from some hazards such as harmful chemicals and sharp objects. The robots will pick out the needle-like objects, glasses, contaminated plastics which could hurt a normal human being during the sorting process.

There is a significant reduction in labor required at every stage which saves on costs for the company. On average, AI can sort about 150 pieces/min compared to the 35 pieces using human labor. This means, to achieve the 150 rates, more people are required to translate to extra expenses.

Shortcomings of using AI’s tech

The fact remains that the human force should always be on the standby to respond to emergency cases. This means that robots cannot entirely replace human labor.

Moreover, AI technology is only helping in sorting waste products and not reducing waste products. Heaps of solid waste are still being disposed of on garbage sites thus environmental choking.


Advancements in Artificial Intelligence are impacting recycling. Today, automation in material recycling facilities (MRFs) is at another level, thanks to robots. Integrating AI and machine learning technologies are already revolutionizing the sector and new-age applications are making the workplace safer for human beings.


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