Smart Cities are slowly becoming a reality that will grow in the coming years. Hyperconnected cities, in which public and private services are increasingly automated and offer more efficient performance to improve the lives of citizens, are ceasing to be science fiction to becoming a model to aspire to by the main world cities. Among the industries in which there are higher expectations is that of waste management and recycling, taking into account the increase in the population and, with it, the exponential increase in both the generation of waste and the need for an increased production of resources of all kinds.

In this sense, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a key ally for the development of the sector. Today, this technology already allows, for example, a more efficient management of recycling plants, the implementation of image recognition systems to select and classify waste, carry out an optimal control of the most propitious moments for recycling by part of the citizens or enable autonomous management mechanisms for garbage collection trucks.

AI enables more efficient management of recycling and waste sorting plants 

Big Data and Machine Learning

Thanks to AI, it is possible to process huge amounts of data through Big Data, thus obtaining valuable information to improve any production system. Through this system, it is possible to identify patterns and trends, as well as to establish future predictions in a very short time and with a high degree of accuracy. For example, in the particular case of waste, AI already makes it possible to automate the sorting of recyclable materials without failure, a task that until not long ago was eminently human. This is essential so that, at a later stage, plastic can be reused if it has been correctly separated from paper or aluminum.

On the other hand, AI also favors the development of Machine Learning, so that the machines themselves improve the productivity of the tasks they perform thanks to the improvement they achieve by repeating them over and over again. This way, the recycling industry will achieve, over the next few years, a higher level of efficiency, which will have a positive impact in the form of time and money savings for all those involved in the value chain, such as collectors, recyclers and the institutional sector as a whole.

Thanks to AI, the waste management of plastic will become simpler, facilitating the work of companies such as Repetco, which will be able to allocate even more resources to innovation processes. The company offers a proprietary, patented system, which is environmentally friendly, using PET/PE multilayer food packaging of post-consumer origin. By means of a unique process, rPET pellets and rPE are generated that can be reused in the food industry with multilayer PET/PE trays and sheet packaging; in bottles for soft drinks or detergents; and in fibers for the textile and automotive industries.

Some real examples

It is already possible to see the impact of AI in the recycling industry. For example, there are geolocation tools, such as ContenedorGo, that enable real-time tracking of all operational containers in an environment, providing information to trucks about their fill level, so that collection routes are much more efficient.

Focusing on the separation of waste for recycling, there are digital solutions such as Max-AI that autonomously sorts waste, separating the cap or labels on a bottle with a negligible margin of error. In addition, the system learns with each new interaction, which will allow companies like Repetco to have a larger volume of containers at their disposal in the future to recycle them and make their reuse possible.

With the cleanliness of large cities in mind, applications such as SmartWaste, based on AI applied to images, make it possible to identify waste at any point, alerting the garbage collection services when, for example, there is a concentration of waste in a place that is not authorized for garbage disposal. It also makes it possible to evaluate the concentration of waste by neighborhood, making it possible to modify the number of containers to meet the needs of the population.

Other news of interest:  The future challenges of the domestic plastic sector