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New Equipment Streamlines Recycling Sorting

The Waste Commission of Scott County now has a more efficient and accurate recycling process. That's according to Rachel Evans, communication coordinator.

Today at the Scott Area Recycling Center in Davenport, staff held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the addition of three, new optical sorters and an AI system. The sorters use infrared technology to "read" what an object is made of. And it rejects non-recycable materials.

"So like a person could sort maybe 35-50 items per minute, but these optical sorters can sort 600-900 items per minute."

Next, the AI system monitors the non-recyclables with a camera to make sure the sorters are accurate.

"That system will figure out what items are going past, what items are going through. And then we can see if we need to adjust something in our system. If recyclable items are getting out, we can adjust our system to make sure we're capturing that. But, it's also affirmation that we're only letting trash and things that are not recycable pass."

The new equipment will help the waste commission collect 1,665 tons more recyclable material each year.