AI Waste Sorting Product is the future of recycling

Finnish technology developers ZenRobotics may have created 'the most promising cure to the waste and raw materials crisis' yet. Their product, the ZenRobotics Recyclerâ„¢, is an automated waste picking line that claims to do the work of 15 human recycling sorters. The inventor, Jufo Peltomaa claimed that the idea for the innovation came as he was watching a documentary about the crushing and dismantling of an old B52 bomber. He felt that manually sorting some kinds of waste could be hazardous to human health, referring to 'dust, microbes, poisonous materials, asbestos and whatnot.'  

ZenRobotics Recycler

The system (above), abbreviated to ZRR, was designed in accordance with the human brain, using a mixture of real-time senses and co-ordination to perform tasks. The ZenRobotics Brain(2) has the ability to react to changes and learn from mistakes. It uses multiple types of light sensors(1), 3D scanners, metal detectors and haptic technologies. No waste sorting system in the world has ever been this comprehensive. The waste still comes down a conveyor belt, as happens in waste sorting centres currently, but now robotic arms(3), such as those in car factories, can pluck and reclaim valuable materials for recycling(4).  

Offering a better sort of future?

The system can be expected to sort around 7 million items per year; mostly metal, wood and stone from construction and demolition waste. Of that, a greater percent will make it to a recycling centre than with human sorting. It's not cheap though, at £402,000 it is estimated that a recoup would take around two years on the initial investment. One additional factor that the ZenRobotics Recycler can offer is that as it learns the ability to sort more items and perform more tasks, these improvements can be purchased. They are yet to break into the UK market, but customers are expected this year. Are we looking at a great solution?