Recycling Contamination Reduction Project to Begin this Month
Press Release: Single Stream Curbside Recycling Contamination Reduction Project to Begin this Month
January 1, 2024: Ledyard and East Lyme residents will soon have artificial intelligence (AI) helping them recycle. The Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resources Recycling Authority (SCRRRA) is excited to announce the start of a pilot program using clean-tech company Prairie Robotics’ AI technology to analyze current recycling habits and provide educational outreach to residents.
The system uses cameras and computers to analyze materials in curbside recycling bins as they are loaded into the truck. When a contaminant is detected – something that should not be in the recycle bin, such as yard waste, food waste, styrofoam, or plastic bags – a photo is taken of the item and a personalized postcard is sent to the address associated with the recycle bin. The postcard provides the image of the contaminant (all other items blurred for privacy) alongside educational messaging about what can and cannot go in our curbside recycle bins.
All curbside recycling in the SCRRRA region (East Lyme, Griswold, Groton, Ledyard, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Preston, Sprague, Stonington and Waterford) is processed at the Casella facility in Willimantic. Residents often get confused about what can and can’t be put in their recycling bin, causing contamination and reduced quality of the recycled materials. Throughout CT and around the country, contamination of the recycling stream is a big problem, as it increases the costs of the recycling collection for communities and spoils good recyclables. SCRRRA hopes that by providing personalized education contamination will be decreased, ultimately cleaning up our single stream curbside recycling program and resulting in financial savings for our towns.
See the report on NBC CT: East Lyme testing AI to track residents’ recycling – NBC Connecticut
See the article in The Day: Garbage trucks with AI to keep an eye on recycling in East Lyme and Ledyard (theday.com)