Using AI to extract mixed recyclables and organic material from MSW

The AMP One system is designed to be co-located with landfills (pictured, above) and transfer stations.

A provider of AI-powered sortation at scale for the waste and recycling industry, AMP Robotics is using its technology to extract mixed recyclables and organic material from municipal solid waste (MSW) for further processing at a facility owned by Recycling and Disposal Solutions (RDS) of Virginia (in the US).

This AI-powered MSW facility features an AMP ONE™ system and is an industry first, currently processing 150 tons per day of local MSW with over 90 percent uptime — described as “an unprecedented level of reliability for mixed waste sorting systems at a scale and footprint that was not previously feasible economically”. Designed to be co-located with landfills and transfer stations, the AMP ONE system separates bagged trash into its component parts of mixed recyclables, organics, and residue. Equipped with this technology, the RDS facility is capable of diverting more than 60 percent of landfill-bound material when paired with organics management and mixed recyclables sorting systems, whether incorporated into a project by AMP or built separately. MSW diversion meaningfully extends the life of landfills, reduces their environmental impact, and keeps disposal costs low.

“The economic and environmental opportunity in extracting value from the municipal solid waste stream is massive, and innovative sortation is key to unlocking this market,” said Matanya Horowitz, AMP founder and CEO. “To move the industry forward, we’ve designed technology that’s resilient to contamination and can more easily go after dirtier material streams. We see the success of the facility in Portsmouth as a blueprint for other municipalities looking to extend the life of their landfills and reach ambitious diversion targets. Given that recycling rates have been stagnant over the last decade, this presents a new opportunity to expand recycling—one that works for existing waste infrastructure assets.”

AMP offers the industry’s most sophisticated AI platform, which can be expanded to all types of material streams, including MSW. The company has a diverse set of sortation technology applications powered by this AI platform, including AMP Jet™, which it can extend to sort in new ways to respond to design challenges or to enable new recycling and diversion pathways.

“At RDS, we’ve been early and enthusiastic adopters of advanced technologies to increase recovery and landfill diversion, drive down processing costs for local governments, and generate data for continuous facility improvement,” said Joe Benedetto, president of RDS. “AMP delivers best-in-class sorting solutions, and it was a natural fit to partner on this project and pioneer an economical way of capturing the value in our waste, especially as local communities close their recycling programs due to increasing costs.”

In 2023, RDS completed a new 33,000-square-foot building at its existing site in Portsmouth, which has provided local recycling services since 2005. RDS installed an AMP ONE system and began processing MSW in the facility in late 2023. This project demonstrated the AMP ONE system’s capacity for sorting MSW into salable commodities. AMP and RDS began working together in 2017; RDS also operates facilities in Roanoke, Virginia; Greenville, North Carolina; and Athens, Georgia.