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Robot recycling: Amazon invests in technology to minimize harm

Robot recycling: Amazon invests in technology to minimize harm
Robot recycling: Amazon invests in technology to minimize harm

In a strategic move towards mitigating its environmental impact within the logistics and delivery sector, Amazon is investing in Glacier, an AI and robotics enterprise. This alliance between Amazon and Glacier underscores the effort to combat climate change, using AI and technology to achieve zero waste. 

For this protject robots are in charge, helping humans to pick and sort recycling materials faster.

Six months ago, Amazon took bold steps to remove the additional packages on parcels and reduce the extra waste on landfill sites. Part of its effort included a program called ‘Ship In Own Container (SIOC).’ This is to help reduce single-use plastic packaging by more than 11%. 

It’s always been working towards reaching net zero carbon by 2040. It ships from urban hubs to reduce the turnaround time for same-day deliveries and its carbon footprint. 

According to Carbon Care, by 2050, the European Environment Agency expects global logistics to cause 40% of global carbon emissions without practical and effective measures. Far too many transport and logistics firms need to pay more attention to these responsibilities. 

The worrisome statistics by Carbon Care point out that the logistics sector contributes around 24% to global CO2 emissions. 

How can Glacier robots recycle items?

Glacier uses AI-powered robots to automate the sorting of recyclable materials. Through Amazon’s ‘Climate Pledge Fund’, investment is needed to help fight climate change. 

“After researching various climate solutions, we discovered that applying novel advances in AI and robotic automation can help the recycling industry. [To]  run more efficiently is a powerful way to reduce waste.[It’s] directly linked to reducing carbon emissions,” says Glacier co-founder  Rebecca Hu.

Opportunities to save the planet

According to the latest available data from Recycling Today, only 21% of Americans recycle.
Inadequate recycling infrastructure might be the cause of this.

In many instances in the e-commerce industry, an overload of plastic and carton boxes is used to cover items. Sometimes it’s warrented to protect fragile products, but it’s also used as a branding strategy. Later it all ends up in the dustbin after the product arrives at its destination. 

Hu’s business partner Areeb Malik says the US processes nearly 70 million tons of recycling annually. She advocates for the necessity of technology to expedite the backlog.

Glacier’s robots “improve sorting and recycling rates” to stop plastic and other toxic materials from entering the oceans or landfills. 

Recycling strategy

Glacier uses two “core technologies” to recycle items. Its AI model can identify more than 30 categories of recyclable materials in real time. “As broad as PET plastic and as narrow as a toothpaste tube,” says the company. The robots can also deliver “consistent recyclable sorting” around the clock, with “minimal implementation costs.”

The technology enables the capture of real-time data to “rescue” more recyclables from ending up in the wrong places.

Amazon and Glacier are actively taking part in creating solutions for sustainability in the logistics industry.
Besides, there are still concerns about a lack of legislation to enforce accountability among corporations.

Photos: Supplied

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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