SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Sarasota is taking a step into the future when it comes to recycling.
On Thursday, the Single Stream Recyclers facility unveiled the state’s first recycling robot system powered by artificial intelligence. The robot uses AI to identify, sort and grab food and beverage cartons from the recycling stream.
“We are excited to be a leader in Florida – and the country – in adding this innovative technology to make sure we capture as many food and beverage cartons as possible to prevent them from ending up in landfills,” Single Stream Recyclers co-owner John Hansen said.
Single Stream Recyclers processes materials from all over the west coast of Florida. Company officials say they sort, bale and ship recyclables from residential curbside and commercial recycling collection.
The robot they unveiled Thursday was the first of six robots to be installed at the facility. They were able to install the robot thanks to a grant from the Carton Council of North America.
The robot was developed by AMP Robotics. The AI system recognizes different colors, textures, shapes, sizes and patterns that help it identify food and beverage cartons in the recycling stream. A high-speed robot then picks, sorts and places cartons for recycling.
The company says the robot learns as it goes and can pick up to 80 items a minute. That’s double the average pick rate of a human.
“It’s more important than ever to sort out the most valuable materials. Employing this robot will be
another step toward making recycling more effective while also reducing the amount of waste that
goes to our landfills, or worse, ends up as litter,” Hansen said.