This AI-powered recycling robot uses technology to sort in Australian first

    Robotics play an important role in commercial and industrial applications and Australian company, Tetra Pak has just announced an Australian-first. The company has partnered with Australian Paper Recovery (APR) Kerbside to implement an AI robot that can identify, and sort used Tetra Pak beverage cartons.

    The robot uses computer vision to identify objects, then the robotic arm springs into action to recognise all the different types of beverage cartons, like milk, soy, oat, almond, stock and juice ahead of its final deployment in the coming weeks.

    When an item is detected that needs to be separated, the robot positions itself over the object, applies suction, then lifts the object off the conveyer belt and places it into a bin beside the line, before returning to the original scanning position.

    The robot has been commissioned at the APR Kerbside Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Truganina, Victoria. This glass-out facility has the capacity to process up to 20,000 tonnes of materials annually and mainly sorts items from the kerbside stream.

    Such items collected from residents’ yellow-lidded recycling bins include paper and cardboard, steel, aluminium, and plastics (bottles and containers).

    The councils that are working with APR Kerbside are excited about this opportunity to divert more valuable resources from landfill. They are eager to expand the current kerbside service offering to their respective residents.

    “Tetra Pak is incredibly proud to be pioneering this exciting recycling innovation with APR to further advance the circular economy in Australia.

    For us at Tetra Pak, to be the first market outside of the U.S. to introduce this AI-powered recycling robot is testament to the steadfast progress we have been making in our sustainability journey in Australia.”

    Vikas Ahuja, Sustainability Director at Tetra Pak Australia and New Zealand

    Darren Thorpe, Managing Director of APR Kerbside, said:

    “We take pride in being at the forefront of recycling innovation in the ways we tackle resource management at our Material Recovery Facility (MRF). Future aspirations of expanding and working towards additional MRF’s in Victoria will allow us to increase our processing capacity.

    We are looking to install more AI- robots as part of our upgrade and expansion plans. It is our commitment to continue supporting carton recycling infrastructure and enable the circular economy so that Australians know their recycling efforts aren’t going to waste.”

    Darren Thorpe, Managing Director of APR Kerbside

    Tetra Pak has also supported the opening of Australia’s first beverage carton recycling facility in Warragamba, New South Wales.

    APR Kerbside plans to transport Tetra Pak beverage cartons to the newly opened saveBOARD facility in Warragamba NSW so they can be recycled into sustainable building materials until the saveBOARD plant in Victoria (jointly funded by the Victoria Government) comes into operation in 2024.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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