Recycling can be difficult. Rules differ from place to place, and regulations change, leaving the recycler confused. Waste handling remains the one process that corporations cannot effectively measure. The burden of recycling is placed on individuals, reducing the effectiveness of sustainability programs and results in recoverable material going to the landfill.
Trashbot, Clean Robotics flagship product separates recyclables and monitors waste management processes by dynamically analyzing the data about what is disposed of in a building, city, or county.
“Waste is a nasty problem. People don’t want to think about it,” said Charles Yhap, CleanRobotics’ CEO, who was drawn to the company because it applied advanced technologies to garbage.
TrashBot is a “smart” waste bin that automatically sorts recyclables from everyday trash. By combining robotics, advanced sensor technology, and the Cloud, TrashBot not only categorizes your unwanted materials, it can audit your waste generation, let you know when it’s full, and can be wirelessly updated if there is a change in your community’s recycling program.
TrashBot has a single opening for all trash. People can simply walk up to a TrashBot and toss garbage into the open chamber. Once the item is inside, a combination of cameras and sensors scan the type of discarded material. Using a custom machine-learning algorithm, TrashBot then makes a classification. A mechanical flap system deposits the item into either the single stream recycling bin or landfill waste. A weight sensor then keeps track of the amount of recyclable material and landfill waste on a daily/weekly basis for accurate waste auditing; a particularly helpful feature for businesses who perform waste monitoring and/or those with green initiatives.
Trashbot has already proven to be better than humans at sorting trash and recycling, Yhap said. CleanRobotics did a two-and-a-half week trial with the first version of Trashbot at a company in Pittsburgh. It’s sorting accuracy was 81 percent. Humans score about 30 percent, Yhap said.
CleanRobotics will test the latest version of Trashbot in the lobby of the City-County Building in Pittsburgh part of the city’s PGH Lab program.
The Mayor’s Office on Tuesday announced that CleanRobotics is among five companies selected to participate in the second round of the PGH Lab program. The program gives Pittsburgh startups a chance to test their products on problems facing city government. They work with city staff and officials, receive guidance and mentoring and have access to coworking spaces and startup accelerator services. They do not receive any funding from the city.
Annia Aleman, manager of the PGH Lab program, said the mission of CleanRobotics aligned with the city’s goal of diverting more waste to recycling instead of landfillsShe said Trashbot is a completely different program than the 400 to 500 smart garbage cans that sense how full they are that City Council approved last month.