Application of Artificial Intelligence to Automated Waste Recycling

EPA Contract Number: 68D30109
Title: Application of Artificial Intelligence to Automated Waste Recycling
Investigators: Sommer, Edward J.
Small Business: National Recovery Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1993 through March 1, 1994
Project Amount: $49,972
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1993) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Diversion of plastics from landfill to recycling can potentially save the energy equivalent of 60 million barrels of oil annually and reduce landfill volume requirements by up to 20%. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that source reduction, recycling, volume reduction, and landfilling be applied, in that order, in the treatment of municipal solid waste (MSW). Recycling has recently become a major component of municipal waste management programs. High costs of labor intensive curbside recycling programs have brought about a second generation technology, mixed waste processing, for accomplishing higher levels of recycling at reduced costs. The economics of mixed waste processing depends upon efficient automated processes for recovering recyclables from MSW. Efficient automated technology exists for recovery of steel, aluminum, compostable food waste and paper products from MSW. These items make up the bulk of MSW. However, the only existing method to recover glass and plastic containers from MSW is to manually handpick them from the waste. The objective of the Phase I research program is to determine feasibility for development of an efficient automated process for recovering post-consumer plastic and glass containers from MSW using recognition algorithms incorporating artificial intelligence techniques.

Supplemental Keywords:

Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Municipal, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, Hazardous, hazardous waste disposal, municipal waste plastics, recycled plastics, hazardous waste recycling, waste recycling, plastics sorting, recovery, recycled waste products, hazardous waste, municipal waste, sorting system, recycling, recycled glass technologies, plastic, municipal solid waste landfills, plastics, solid waste, automated seperation, pollution prevention, artificial intelligence techniques

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Application of Artificial Intelligence to Automated Waste Recycling