Finnish startup ZenRobotics is on a mission to make the world a greener place by attempting to solve the global waste problem.
The European Union alone generates 900 million tons of waste from construction and demolition.
ZenRobotics aims to make the waste sorting process faster and safer. Typically, humans manually sort through materials and in doing so, get exposed to dust and chemicals.
The ZenRobotics Recycler (ZRR) system sorts raw materials like metal, wood, and stone. Eventually, ZenRobotics will recycle mobile electronics.
We recently had the opportunity to see the ZenRobotics Recycler in action.
Disclosure: Finnish funding agency Tekes and Finnfacts, a non-profit media service organisation in Finland, paid for my trip to Helsinki to explore the startup scene.
But since they don't break down waste in their actual offices, we took a minibus to Sita. Sita is an environmental waste company in Finland, and was the first to use the ZenRobotics Recycler. ZenRobotics has five customers so far.
Those sensors include various cameras, 3D scanners, touch-based haptic-feedback sensors, and metal detectors.
The ZRR can distinguish between metal, wood, and stone. It then sorts all of those materials accordingly.
Anything that's not stone, wood, or metal ends up in the reject pile. For now, the rejected materials wind up in landfills.
This is where all of the materials funnel out of the ZRR. The robot sorts the waste correctly 95% of the time.
It all gets dumped into these bins. From here, SITA crushes the stone, burns the wood, and sells metals to scrap yards to make new metals.
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