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Home > Blog > Skip Services > Could Robots Be The Waste-Managers Of The Future?

Could Robots Be The Waste-Managers Of The Future?

Posted in Skip Services by Skiphire UK on January 12th, 2016

A wide variety of previously manual industries are undergoing radical changes, primarily due to the rise in the availability of robotic technologies and increases in intelligent computing and artificial intelligence. It is currently believed by many in the waste management and sorting industries that, within just a few short years, the sorting of waste by hand will become a thing of the past.

Whilst there is the potential for robotic systems to primarily take control of waste-management, cheap skip hire will always be a necessity for companies, organisations and homeowners to get rid of the waste from their home or business to the actual sorting centre.

The Current State Of Waste-Management!

Modern estimations have suggested that as much as 700 million tonnes of waste will need to be recycled in order to keep up with the current EU directives. The amount of waste that it currently recycled will only increase, as we move ever closer to the EU’s objectives. By the year 2020, the EU wants as much as 70% of all waste to be recycled or reused to create a much more efficient and environmentally-friendly world.

Why Is Waste Separation So Important?

Essentially, waste separation can be classified as the diversion of waste into two, or more, useful streams of waste. The characteristics of each waste stream would determine its value to the end-user and its overall recyclability. For example, a plastic or metal waste stream would be extremely useful, but a stream composed of non-recyclable materials is worthless.

Waste separation is a major part of material recovery, and that is why it is absolutely essential that people adhere to their local waste collection strategies, including multi-coloured bins for different materials. Sorting out waste has a diverse range of advantages, allowing the re-use of suitable materials and the drastic decrease of the items which are heading to the landfill.

The amount of waste that we send directly to the landfill remains an urgent problem and all over the world more and more people are starting to realise just how damaging landfills are for the environment. With volumes of waste always on the rise, combining with the rapid decrease in available landfill-space, creating an effective and reliable waste sorting procedure, across the globe, is essential for sustainability.

What Are Recycling Companies Doing To Improve Sustainability?

Recycling companies across the world sort their particular waste as precisely as the can, to ensure that the purity of each stream is at its highest possible, resulting in a much higher grade material. This results in the end-product being as high quality as possible.

As higher-quality products are being made from recycled materials, more and more people are looking for ethically and sustainably-produced items. Therefore, the demand for these recycled items continues to increase, which means that the ethical and effective sorting of waste is a truly effective business model. Recycling waste isn’t just a matter of recovering materials which can be reused or sold on to a manufacturer, but is, instead, an economic system.

With that in mind, it is no wonder that waste management will soon be following in the footsteps of other manual industries and include robotic systems into everyday waste management use.

One of Holland’s leading waste-management organisations, Baetsen, has implemented a robotic system which is the first of its kind across the world.

The ZenRobotics Recycler!

This robotic technology is designed to replace five manual workers and is the first of its kind to be introduced into the waste-management industry. A highly-sophisticated system, the robotics involved are taught over a period of time to be specific and ensure that nothing gets through as part of a waste stream which isn’t supposed to.

For the first two weeks of its operation, the system only worked at around 40-50% of its desired capabilities, but this quickly grew to 100% after the system’s bugs were detected and fixed.

How Does The Robotic Recycling System Work?

The robots within the system rely on photography in order to effectively manage waste. The rubbish is placed on the two-metre wide conveyor belt and images are taken via a series of ten cameras, lasers and sensors. These then determine the type of waste which is sent by electronic signals to the processing centre – the “brain” of the robot. This all happens in a matter of milliseconds, which enables to robot to work much faster, and much more accurately, than human hand-eye co-ordination.

As well as working much faster, the robotic system can work non-stop, and is designed to catch and separate and heavy objects and separate them for sorting. In as little as an hour, the robot can collect and sort in excess of 1,500 objects, weighing up to 20 kilograms each!

The Features Of The Robotic Sorting System

The system features a smart-gripper, which can open from 50mm to 500mm, allowing daily waste of most sizes and dimensions to be quickly and easily sorted. The attached sorting arms themselves can throw waste – literally – in a 2x2 metre square space.

What makes the system incredible, however, is its incredible multi-tasking capacity. Each one of its robotic arms can sort up to four difference fractions with extremely high levels of precision. It can sort a variety of different materials, including stone and plastic, resulting in an unbeatable purity level of 98%. Thanks to its incredible capacity for learning, the system can be actively adjusted for a variety of waste environments.

The Future Of Waste-Management And Recycling?

It is clear that the entire industry is moving towards an automated process, particularly as waste management companies all over Europe move towards the expectations laid down by the EU. The CEO of ZenRobotics, Timo Taalas, has said that: “The ZenRobotics Recycler is a great example of next generation waste-sorting. The system was designed to lower the cost of recycling and improve the efficiency.”

Whilst the automation of waste management will provide a diverse range of benefits to the sustainability of many countries, there will still always be a need for reliable and cheap skip hire. It is fantastic that all waste will be able to be sorted out quickly and efficiently, but there will still be a need for professional services to deliver the waste to these sorting points.

Choose Skip Hire UK For Cheap Skip Hire Across The Country

Here at Skip Hire UK, we are proud of our commitment to recycling and we welcome the news that the future of waste management lies in effective automated systems. We deliver affordable skip hire services to businesses and homeowners all over the country, and we are focused on ensuring that as much of your waste is recycled or reused as possible.

For more information on our cheap skip hire services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our professional team today on 0845 373 1394. Alternatively, you can email any questions or concerns you have to our team directly at, and we’ll do our best to answer as soon as possible!


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