Remind Me Again – Is Tin Recyclable?

By Teresa Kenney

Dem-Con Companies, a Shakopee-based recycling, processing and disposal company, is installing a robot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to sort food and beverage cartons from other materials in the recycling stream.

The AMP Cortex robot identifies, grabs and sorts food and beverage cartons so they can be sent to recyclers where they are turned into new materials, such as tissues, paper towels and other paper materials, as well as sustainable building and construction materials.

“We are constantly looking at innovative ways to maximize recycling, and the AMP Cortex is a perfect example,’’ said Bill Keegan, president of Dem-Con Companies in a statement. “We were already recycling cartons recognizing their value, however our method wasn’t as efficient as it could be. This system will assure we are sorting every carton.’’

The robot is a joint project between Dem-Con, AMP Robotics and the Carton Council of North America.


Dem-Con’s carton-sorting robot is the second installation of the AMP Cortex. The first, at Alpine Waste & Recycling in Denver, was launched earlier this year. Through AI, the robots learn as they go and become better over time at identifying and sorting cartons. Everything the robots learn can then be shared with future systems.

“While the AMP Cortex is currently sorting only food and beverage cartons, it is learning from all the materials that pass below it and getting smarter each day,” said Matanya Horowitz, founder of AMP Robotics. “In the future, it will be able to not only sort other recyclables but also be programmed to pick out contaminants, such as plastic bags, leading to a more cost-effective and safer MRF environment for the humans working on the line.”


And speaking of robots…

Bloomington-based BIS Research reports that the indoor robots market is expected to reach $50.46 billion in 2026. The market is driven by a number of factors such as growing needs of robots for security services, unprecedented rise in the demand from the domestic users, along with the increase in the demand of elderly care robots, and growing demand for productivity and quality.