As part of efforts to fulfill ambitious targets for recycling waste from landfills, Michigan State University has added a robotic sorter to its recycling center.
Officials said the new robotic sorter was purchased with a government grant and is intended to handle recyclables more efficiently and safely. The high-tech machine is expected to perform two sort-line tasks.
Amy Butler, the university's sustainability director, said the university set a goal to divert 70 percent of its waste from landfills by 2024, in order to continue to reduce its overall environmental footprint.
This new technology is a significant step towards that, Butler said. It is also continuing MSU's commitment to foster a sustainable society by providing students with planned hands-on learning opportunities.
As part of the overall climate objectives, state regulators receive a carbon neutral rate by 2050. The benchmark was included in the state's new climate plan, which is expected to be finalized and on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at Earth Day.
MSU's Surplus Store and Recycling Center collects and recycles roughly 6,000 tons from the landfill each year, according to officials.
The robotic sorter was purchased with a $180,000 grant from the State Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, as well as a $52,000 contribution from MSU's surplus store and recycling center.
"The new sorter helps us better handle recyclables by identifying items more precisely and 50 percent faster than human staff," says Kris Jolley, head of the university's recycling center.
MSU's Surplus Store and Recycling Center is financially independent from the university, selling recyclable materials and unfavorable university items. It reduced MSU's general building waste to landfills by half in volume and diverted 100 million pounds of waste.
On campus, the facility has accepts recyclables seven days a week at the at 468 Green Way in East Lansing, just off Farm Lane. Call 517-355-1723 for more information.
Plastic bottles and tubs, cloudy No. 2 plastic bottles and jugs, cardboard, boxboard, mixed paper, paper, metal, glass, and books are among the accepted materials.