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AI's Role in Recycling Optimization: Enhanced Monitoring, Optimization, and Compliance for MRFs

October 10, 2023

Author: JD Ambati, CEO at EverestLabs

Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) sort through millions of tons of waste and recyclables, and due to an ever-evolving recycling landscape, it’s a business that needs modern technologies. New recycling policies like EPR, changes in the recycling market, labor shortages, and minimum recycled content goals all have an impact on how efficiently and profitably an MRF can run.

One of the major issues that recyclers face is volatile recycled material commodity prices. Changes to recycled commodity pricing are a regular occurrence in the recycling industry and can have a major impact on MRFs and the circular economy. There are many factors that influence recycled commodity pricing including:

  • Higher oil prices
  • Virgin material supply
  • Corporate sustainability commitments (i.e. recycled content goals created by CPG brands)
  • New and changing recycling policies

With recycled material commodity pricing being so unstable, it’s crucial that recyclers have access to innovative technology that can help them efficiently and quickly capture the highest-value at the lowest cost and consistently maximize profits simultaneously.

New recycling legislation, specifically Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), is imposing new rules and regulations on recyclers and their facilities. Mainly, EPR is imposing compliance risks on recyclers. Under EPR legislation, recyclers not only need to increase their recovery rate but will also face higher scrutiny of their operations as there will be an increased number of audits and higher standards for reporting. Recyclers will also see higher performance and quality standards and will have to expand the types of materials they sort while also having to process new types of materials, sometimes even having to sort materials by brand. Most recyclers do not have access to new technologies that can help them succeed during these extensive changes to the recycling industry. Luckily, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and other technologies are available today to help meet new standards.

At EverestLabs, we offer MRFs and recyclers both insights and tools to excel in this new recycling landscape. EverestLabs created RecycleOS to help MRFs increase material recovery and work more efficiently through artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. EverestLabs’ AI solutions can be deployed throughout a recycling facility to identify and capture more granular data on what materials are coming in, being recovered, and sent to landfill. This data can serve as the basis for EPR-driven audits in a continuous fashion with visibility for all stakeholders including recyclers, producers, and non-profit or government agencies.

In addition, implementing EverestLabs’ robotic solutions can improve the recovery of recyclable objects from existing sorting facilities without huge retrofits. This presents MRFs with an opportunity to meet the higher standards that they will encounter as well as help MRFs capture the highest-value commodities to stay ahead of the market shift.

Being prepared for market shifts is now possible with new technologies that are available for recycling facilities today. Meeting compliance standards of new recycling-focused legislation is made simple with AI-generated data. EverestLabs is proud to partner with leading recycling companies in the effort to make recycling more sustainable and future-proof.

Please contact us at and take the first step.

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