Germany is seen worldwide as a model country when it comes to waste separation. In fact, the results are significantly worse than often believed. This is mainly due to the sometimes complicated and confusing regulations. Some studies even concluded that randomly distributing the waste among the different bins would work just as well as deliberately separating the residents. Ultimately, this creates unsorted waste that is difficult to sell on the recycling market. This leaves only two alternatives: time-consuming and expensive post-sorting or the less ideal recycling in a waste incineration plant. The American startup Cleanrobotics, therefore, wants to free people from all considerations when it comes to waste separation. Instead, the company has developed a smart garbage can in which a specially trained artificial intelligence takes over this task. This system is marketed under the name “Trashbot”.
The AI achieves a sorting accuracy of 95 percent
The smart garbage can is very easy for the user to use: he simply throws all the waste in the same bin. There, the waste is then individually scanned and automatically analyzed. Ideally, it will then go into the correct trash can. According to the people behind the system, a sorting accuracy of about 95 percent can be achieved in this way. This is about three times better than the previous average for consumer separation. It is also a learning system. The more often the smart bins are used, the better the results can ultimately become. In addition, the system has some other interesting features. An alarm will automatically go off as soon as one of the boxes is more than eighty percent full. The actual waste sorting installations then only need to be finalized, which results in considerably lower costs. Ideally, the recycling rate can be significantly increased in this way.
The startup wants to expand to other countries in the future
In fact, some trash bot systems are already in use. Until now, they have mainly been set up in crowded public facilities such as shopping centers or airports. This makes perfect sense. Because there are particularly large amounts of poorly sorted waste. In the future, the startup will also focus on expansion. Recently, about 4.5 million euros have been raised from investors. The money is used for cooperation in China, Australia, and Singapore, among other things. Perspective, a solution for private households could also be on the agenda at some point. However, the subject of waste separation and recycling is complex. Because in order to achieve the highest possible recycling percentage, it is important that the packaging manufacturers already have the problem on their screen during production. Progress has already been made here in recent years. However, the situation is not yet optimal.