The benefits of recycling robots to enable recycling efficiency

An article in techcrunch.com, titled “Recycling robots raise millions from top venture firms to rescue an industry in turmoil”, describes challenges faced by US recycling companies as a result of China’s lowering of the contamination threshold for recyclable content combined with lack of sufficient labor given the healthy US economy. This has enabled the competitiveness of technology solutions using computer vision, robots, machine learning etc to identify and sort garbage into sorted piles of plastics, cartons etc. With a higher pick speed (twice as fast of humans), higher accuracy and longer working hours, automation seems to be a competitive alternative. Should landfilling prices be increased to incentivize use of automation to recycle rather then throwing all of the garbage in the landfill ? Should separation at the source i.e., moves to separation of barge by consumers be encouraged so that the robots tasks become simpler and thus improve the recycling economics ? Should greater benefits (perhaps through lower sales taxes) be provided for purchase of products with higher recylced content ?

About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Capacity, competitiveness, Cost, productivity, recycling, Sustainability, technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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