AMP Robotics and Waste Connections | June 29, 2022
AMP Robotics Corp. a pioneer in AI, robotics, and infrastructure for the waste and recycling industry, has expanded its partnership with Waste Connections, Inc. its largest customer. Since late 2020, Waste Connections has booked or deployed 50 of AMP’s high-speed robotics systems on plastic, fiber, and residue lines, becoming the largest operator of AI-guided robotics in the industry.
“It’s gratifying to reach this milestone with a leader in resource recovery like Waste Connections. We’ve worked tirelessly to deliver AI and robotics systems that modernize today’s recycling operations by increasing productivity, stabilizing costs, and improving the quality and value of recycled commodities. We remain committed to the continuous enhancement of our AI and automation solutions to stay ahead of industry challenges, exceed customer expectations, and support the industry’s sustainability and climate goals.”
Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of AMP Robotics
AMP’s technology identifies and recovers plastics, cardboard, paper, cans, cartons, and many other containers and packaging types reclaimed for raw material processing. For example, AMP recovers a portfolio of #1-#7 plastics in a variety of different form factors, colors, and opacities with high precision and purity. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) together account for a majority of recycled plastic demand, with growing interest in polypropylene (PP)—a highly recyclable polymer with high demand in food-safe applications and flexibility to accommodate packaging in a variety of shapes and sizes. The ability to precisely separate different plastics and other recyclables with AI-driven sorting is helping recyclers meet the soaring need for sufficient quantities of high-quality recycled content from brands and packaging producers.
“We’re excited to expand our relationship with AMP,” said Dan Kurtz, director of recycling for Waste Connections. “We’re impressed by the reliability of the robotics systems and the quality of the end product. We look forward to our continued partnership with AMP as we advance our sustainability initiatives.”
About AMP Robotics® Corp.
AMP Robotics is modernizing the world’s recycling infrastructure by applying AI and automation to increase recycling rates and economically recover recyclables reclaimed as raw materials for the global supply chain. The AMP Cortex™ high-speed robotics system automates the identification and sorting of recyclables from mixed material streams. The AMP Neuron™ AI platform continuously trains itself by recognizing different colors, textures, shapes, sizes, patterns, and even brand labels to identify materials and their recyclability. Neuron then guides robots to pick and place the material to be recycled. Designed to run 24/7, all of this happens at superhuman speed with extremely high accuracy. AMP Clarity™ provides data and material characterization on what recyclables are captured and missed, helping recycling businesses and producers maximize recovery. With deployments across North America, Asia, and Europe, AMP’s technology recovers recyclables from municipal collection, precious commodities from electronic scrap, high-value materials from construction and demolition debris, and valuable feedstocks from organic material.
About Waste Connections
Waste Connections is an integrated solid waste services company that provides non-hazardous waste collection, transfer and disposal services, along with resource recovery primarily through recycling and renewable fuels generation. Waste Connections serves more than eight million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in mostly exclusive and secondary markets across 44 states in the U.S. and six provinces in Canada. Waste Connections also provides non-hazardous oilfield waste treatment, recovery, and disposal services in several basins across the U.S., as well as intermodal services for the movement of cargo and solid waste containers in the Pacific Northwest.
Sonoco Products Company | June 27, 2022
The first HolyGrail 2.0 sorting prototype was successfully validated in March this year following semi-industrial trials, using NIR and digital watermarks detection to sort packaging waste with a 99 percent detection rate and the potential to develop new, more granular post-consumer recycling streams.
The Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0, driven by AIM – European Brands Association, and powered by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, has the goal of assessing whether the digital watermarks technology can enable better sorting and higher-quality recycling rates for packaging in the EU. Today, more than 160 partners across the value chain are working together to refine and commercialize this concept. Sonoco, one of the largest global sustainable packaging companies, is a member of the HolyGrail 2.0 initiative to prove the viability of digital watermarking for sorting packaging waste and the business case at scale, likely with global implications.
Trials in Copenhagen found that using digital watermarks on packaging resulted in 98 - 100 percent being correctly detected, with a subsequent total ejection rate of 90 - 100 percent. During the live trial in a mix of five different packaging types of various brands, 96 percent of Sonoco’s rigid paper containers were correctly detected and ejected. This demonstrates an additional approach to sort Sonoco’s EnviroCan™ rigid paper containers into the paper recycling stream.
“At Sonoco, we recognize the critical importance of developing sustainable packaging solutions that will protect and preserve our planet for future generations. We are proud to be a member of the HolyGrail 2.0 initiative and are pleased with this successful trial to further our sustainable packaging portfolio. We are committed to advancing sortation and recycling of packaging of all types.”
Jeff Schuetz, Staff Vice President, Consumer Technology
Imperceptible postage stamp sized, digital watermarks on packaging aim to make it possible to effectively sort the material into specific waste streams. Conventional sorting technologies are not able to reliably identify multi-material packaging, so they can end up in the wrong recycling streams or drop to the refuse stream all together. With this new digital watermarking technology, it becomes possible to separate materials more accurately into distinct streams, even in cases of multi-material packaging. It is even possible to distinguish between packaging coming from food and non-food applications, which becomes increasingly important for the use of recycled material in new packaging. With the trials in Copenhagen, Sonoco can show high compatibility of its rigid paper containers using this technology across all sizes and material specifications.
Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of consumer, industrial, healthcare and protective packaging. With net sales of approximately $5.6 billion in 2021, the Company has approximately 22,000 employees working in more than 300 operations in 32 countries, serving some of the world’s best-known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is committed to creating sustainable products, services and programs for its customers, employees and communities that support our corporate purpose of Better Packaging. Better Life. The Company ranked first in the Packaging sector on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies for 2022 as well as being included in Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies for the third consecutive year.
Kimberly-Clark Professional | June 27, 2022
Kimberly-Clark Professional, a global leader in contamination control solutions for cleanrooms and laboratories, has expanded The RightCycle Program, the first large-scale recycling effort for non-hazardous lab, cleanroom and industrial PPE waste. Flex-film plastic packaging from Kimtech™ and KleenGuard™ products will now be accepted for recycling through the program.
"This is a significant step in addressing a challenging waste stream that currently has very low recycling rates compared with other commodities, such as paper and cardboard. As the program continues to grow and evolve, we remain committed to finding ways to expand our recycling capabilities in order to help our customers reach their goals and to deliver on our purpose of Better Care for a Better World."
Mike Haley, Vice President of PPE at Kimberly-Clark Professional
Since 2011, The RightCycle Program has empowered more than 900 customers to divert 3.7 million pounds of waste.
Film and flexible packaging are composed of various substances, and recycling them requires a specific approach. In 2019, only 5% of managed plastic waste in the United States was recycled, according to scientists with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The RightCycle Program has established partnerships and processes to properly recycle these items.
In addition to plastic packaging waste, The RightCycle Program collects previously hard-to-recycle personal protective equipment (PPE) such as garments, masks, gloves, and goggles. These items are then recycled by regional partners that create new plastic pellets, which are used to produce consumer products and durable goods, including flowerpots and lawn furniture, benches, and bicycle racks.
Originating in the United States with a few scientific manufacturing customers, The RightCycle Program is now available in nine countries across Europe and North America with a wide range of customers that include universities, zoos, laboratories, manufacturing facilities, breweries, and a variety of other businesses.
The RightCycle Program contributes to Kimberly-Clark's global 2030 ambition, which is to improve the lives of 1 billion people in underserved communities around the globe with the smallest environmental footprint. Kimberly-Clark understands that a strong and enduring focus on safeguarding natural systems is just as essential to helping people live a better life. To that end, the company is focused on the areas where it can make the biggest difference – climate, forests, water and plastics.
Kimberly-Clark aspires to be at the forefront of the transition to a circular, reuse economy by reducing waste, promoting waste-handling system improvements, and innovating new ways of providing people with the products that they need to live their best lives. In 2021, the company expanded The RightCycle Program in Europe to other categories to include the recycling of both plastic dispensers and hand towels. This will provide Kimberly-Clark Professional with an even greater opportunity to reduce its environmental footprint in collaboration with its customers.
Watch a brief video about Kimberly-Clark Professional's RightCycle partners, including the Jackson County Developmental Center (JCDC) and Somerset Recycling Services, a plastics processing organization in Kentucky. Since 2016, Somerset Recycling Services has recovered nearly 3 million pounds of recyclable materials from The RightCycle Program.
About Kimberly-Clark Professional
Kimberly-Clark Professional partners with businesses to create Exceptional Workplaces, helping to make them healthier, safer and more productive. Key brands in this segment include Kleenex, Scott, WypAll, KleenGuard and Kimtech.
Kimberly-Clark and its trusted brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 175 countries. Fueled by ingenuity, creativity, and an understanding of people's most essential needs, we create products that help individuals experience more of what's important to them. Our portfolio of brands, including Huggies, Kleenex, Scott, Kotex, Cottonelle, Poise, Depend, Andrex, Pull-Ups, GoodNites, Intimus, Neve, Plenitud, Sweety, Softex, Viva and WypAll, hold the No. 1 or No. 2 share position in 80 countries. We use sustainable practices that support a healthy planet, build stronger communities, and ensure our business thrives for decades to come.