Green technology: how waste management innovations are boosting sustainability

Who would have thought that trash cans would be smart one day? Well, it’s happening. Digitalization and AI have also found their way into the waste industry, with green technology helping companies be more sustainable.

Green technology designed especially for companies
Image: © CHUTTERSNAP / Unsplash

Green technologies for companies

Many companies struggle with the topic of sustainability, especially when it comes to waste management. Waste disposal and resource-friendly recycling are actually an ever-present problem for our economic powerhouse. Recycling regulations are confusing, company waste disposal concepts are not well thought out, and there is a lack of a big picture, making it challenging for businesses to manage their waste sustainably. That is where ingenious green technologies come in, with digitalization and artificial intelligence taking the issue to a whole new level. Innovative devices and software tools are enabling companies to prevent waste, sort it correctly, and recycle it in the best possible way.

TrashBot – a trash can with grips?

R2-D2 from Star Wars would definitely take a fancy to the TrashBot, and it’s not hard to see why: the ultra-modern, smart robotic trash can developed by the U.S. startup CleanRobotics is certainly no waste of space, but instead autonomously separates the waste fed into it. The AI-based system can detect and sort recyclable items without human assistance. According to its manufacturer, the intelligent trash can separates waste with an accuracy of 95 percent – around three times higher than a human. It also features an integrated fill level alert so that cleaning staff know exactly when to empty it.

The TrashBot solves the waste sorting problem right where the waste is generated. Some investors were so impressed by the idea that the project has now received funding amounting to 4.5 million dollars. The very first TrashBots can already be found in shopping malls and airports. Busy places like those are where the clever robot really shows off its strengths.

AMP Clarity™ – recycling made easy

Sorting waste is a challenge for us humans in many respects – mainly because we’re constantly being confronted with new types of packaging and recyclable materials. The question of how to cleverly separate reusable items hasn’t even been definitively answered at the recycling plants themselves. Many of today’s sorting facilities struggle to reliably and quickly sort the waste that is delivered to them. Artificial intelligence can in fact lend a hand here.

Green technologies, such as AMP Clarity™ from the U.S. company AMP Robotics, intelligently sort waste directly on the conveyor belt. This AI-based software detects a wide range of reusable materials without the need for human intervention, whether identifying different types of plastic or sorting synthetic waste according to color and shape. It also offers a web-based data and intelligence tool for sustainably managing recyclables. AMP Clarity™ is mainly designed for municipal waste disposal plants, but production companies that buy unsorted waste as raw materials could also benefit from the solution.

Resourcify – optimal recycling for companies

Many companies use outdated systems to manage their waste, which often results in valuable materials failing to be recycled. Clever digital tools can turn this situation around and achieve greater sustainability. The Resourcify tool from the Hamburg-based startup of the same name is designed to put an end to incorrect waste disposal. The app-based cloud platform allows companies to manage their waste disposal situation across various sites.

Whether scrap paper, wood, metal, or plastic – companies are given an overview of the waste that is being stored and are sent push notifications by the app when it’s time for the containers to be collected. The developer of the digital waste management tool says that it allows companies to increase their recycling rate by up to 50 percent, while reducing administrative costs. Resourcify is already being implemented by numerous companies, for example retail chains, construction firms, and healthcare providers.

Green technologies for a green future

The examples presented here show that there’s a whole lot happening in the field of sustainability. All the more reason for companies to constantly keep an eye out for exciting green technologies. A vast array of solutions is already out there to support companies in their sustainable transformation, thereby paving the way for a green and digital future.