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Talking Trash: Emmet County Recycling Center Robots

There are three ‘new staff’ members that were recently added to the team at the in Harbor Springs.

“We are a dual-stream recycling facility, so we ask residents and businesses to separate their paper from their mixed containers,” said the recycling center’s director, Andi Shepherd. “This doesn’t always happen, so we needed a little extra help”.

Thanks to a grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), sorting through recyclables has gotten a little easier. They now have sorting robots that are programmed to take out what doesn’t belong in the sorting line.

“The reason we started talking about this project back in probably 2018 – was due to labor shortages, and we just were really struggling to find people to sort our recyclable materials,” Shepherd explained. “Instead of replacing people with robots we actually just shifted where they’re working”.

Besides being an extra helping hand, the robots can collect data as well. “With this technology, we know every single material that’s being picked up and they can learn”. Shepherd also mentioned that they can even program the robots to pick up specific brands like Starbucks cups.

To check out the latest addition to the Emmet County Recycling Center in Harbor Springs, .

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