American trade association the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) has announced a new lease model to finance a robot that can sort single-stream recyclables.

The robot has been designed by AI together with robotics company EverestLabs.

The investment model will fully fund the robot’s deployment at Caglia Environmental’s Cedar Avenue Recycling and Transfer Station (CARTS) in Fresno, California, US.

The CMI will use funding from its member companies, Ardagh Metal Packaging and Crown Holdings, for the two-year equipment lease for Caglia.

Caglia will share 50% of its generated revenue from the used beverage cans (UBCs) saved with the CMI.

At the material recovery facility (MRF), EverestLabs’ robot is projected to collect more than one million UBCs annually, which would otherwise be destined to end up in landfills.

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CARTS plant maintenance manager Corey Stone said: “We put EverestLabs’ robot on the last chance line and have it focusing on aluminium beverage cans so that it’s picking ‘gold’ out of trash.

“This lease provides a no-risk, no-cost way for Caglia to advance its goal of capturing all recoverable material coming through its facility.”

EverestLabs has provided its RecycleOS data platform to Caglia for delivering reports on missorted UBCs, every day.

The CMI said that the lease programme will support its effort to highlight potential additional revenue for the recycling system by collecting missorted UBCs while supporting the installation of additional can-capture equipment in MRFs.

According to the CMI’s 2020 research, titled ‘Aluminium Beverage Can: Driver of the US Recycling System’, capturing missorted UBCs at MRFs is of key importance, as up to one in four aluminium beverage cans is currently missorted at MRFs.

EverestLabs founder and CEO Jagadeesh Ambati said: “With new investment models, we can speed adoption of AI solutions to eliminate losing UBCs to landfill, as this is a massive loss for the entire ecosystem.”