Autonomous Waste Sorter
Project Description

Recycling is an expanding global industry due to the fact that the world is becoming more aware of the need to reduce energy and resource consumption. Although most sorting processes used to separate recyclables is mainly done on a large scale, the team developed a small scale solution to be used in the home. The team designed and built a completely autonomous system capable of sorting four different types of waste materials. The autonomous sorter was then used to participate in the ASME student design competition in addition to serving as solution to household recycling.

The importance of recycling is widely understood as conserving natural resources, saving energy, limiting waste, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The team designed, built, and tested a system capable of sorting four waste materials including plastic, aluminum, tin-coated steel, and glass without the need for human interaction. This system will aide the community by maintaining a clean environment and increasing the number of individuals who recycle by making the process more user friendly.

On the issue of environmental impact, the purpose of this project is to promote recycling. Single stream recycling plants have shown an increase in consumer recycling participation by 30% and the autonomous recyclable sorter will make recycling in the home easier increasing that statistic. While the device itself is not made of easily recyclable materials, unless they are refitted for alternative projects, the device does not produce any harmful emissions or require parts of a toxic nature other than its batteries. The impact of the batteries has been lessened by reducing the weight of the device to lower the amount of power required by the motors. The components anticipated to be replaced the most are the batteries; this turnover is significantly reduced however by the group’s use of rechargeable batteries. Overall, the impact of the device on the environment is positive by lowering the amount of waste going to landfills.
"The energy saved each year by steel recycling is equal to the electrical power used by 18 million homes each year, or enough energy to last Los Angeles residents for eight years.” -Steel Recycling Institute





 Sponsored By: http://www.uesystems.com