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Kent County installs new AI recycling technology to reduce waste

Kent County Department of Public Works

Kent County has installed new recycling technology at its Recycling and Education Center. AI-guided robots are helping reduce waste and increase revenue

“Our Recycling Education Center is about 13 years-old and we’ve been making improvements and updates to that center over the last several years and these new AI robots are really the latest in our improvements.”

Steve Faber is the Communications and Marketing Manager for Kent County Department of Public Works.  He says this innovative technology is helping the DPW be more efficient while diverting waste from landfills.  The robots, which were installed on June 9th, use artificial intelligence to sort materials quickly and with precision, capturing high- value recyclables.

“And ultimately these robots allow us to pick out specific material so we can set them to just take out milk cartons and they will look for that. And because they are AI driven, they are learning about our waste stream and getting more and more precise about picking out that right material.”

Faber says the better they’re able to sort material the more money they can get from that material, which is sold to other recyclers, thus contributing to the revenue the DPW needs to offset its cost.

Grant funding from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy allowed the DPW to acquire the three recycling robots from AMP Robotics.  Officials say AMP Robotics is a leader in artificial intelligence, robotics and infrastructure for the waste and recycling industry.

And Faber says if anyone wants to see robots in action and learn more about recycling, residents can come to the recycling and education center. You can find out more on their website at reimaginetrash.org

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.
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