Recycling: Are The Robots Taking Over?

We all recognize that recycling is important, but the sheer amount of human energy it takes to sort recycling is downright Sisyphean. As with so many challenges, though, this one is being met by technology, and the ever more intelligent systems we design to mechanize our workforce. According to Recycling Inside, it seems Singapore has gotten serious about using robots to sort their refuse.

Can The Machines Handle This Job?

V8 Environmental PTE Ltd., a major recycling company in Singapore, has just agreed to a contract with Finnish company ZenRobotics regarding multi-armed, waste-sorting robots. A single machine can pick 6,000 pieces of refuse in an hour, sorting it into the appropriate bin. With multiple robots working a single conveyor belt, it’s possible for them to easily surpass the amount of work humans could accomplish on the same task. Moreover, these robots can do it with mechanical accuracy.

Singapore isn’t the only market to show interest in the Scandinavian robots, either. China and Japan, as well as other parts of Asia, are paying very close attention to the technology, and the benefits it could provide. There are some American companies showing interest in the world’s first robotic waste-sorting system, as well. Because if the investment is worthwhile, which these machines seem to be, then it can take what was previously a high-energy endeavor, and automate it. Thus recycling will become more profitable than buying new, which will help reduce our demand for fresh material when we already have so much that could be remade.