Mountains of waste and plastic are growing continuously worldwide. Around 4.4 million tons of municipal waste from private households and similar establishments are generated in Austria every year. This is mainly mixed waste, consisting mostly of plastics and composites as well as organic fractions such as paper and cardboard. For waste processing, the diverse composition is challenging since it varies greatly seasonally and regionally. Existing plants do not have a widely used or suitable technology to automatically detect the quality of intermediate steps at a plant. As a result, it can happen, for example, that the plastic bottle fractions is well separated, while the remaining waste components such as cardboard packaging are insufficiently separated.
The AI-Waste project is now combining image data with plant data for the first time in order to describe the type and composition of waste in the ongoing process. The project, which is led by Know-Center, is being implemented in collaboration with the Institute for Machine Vision and Display at Graz University of Technology and JOANNEUM Research Forschungsgesellschaft.
“Digitalization offers untapped potential, especially in our area of activity. Constant innovation is the only effective means of achieving long-term success as a company,” emphasizes Christian Oberwinkler, CTO of Komptech GmbH, which supports the project as a technology partner in the area of mixed waste processing.