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Evergreen Doubles PET Recovery Rate by Using Robotics
Evergreen, based in the USA, has doubled their PET recovery rate through the use of recycling robots. The company has a total of 15 AMP robotic sorting systems, installed or planned across three facilities.
AMP’s robots, guided by artificial intelligence, find and sort green and clear PET from post-consumer bales of plastic soft-drink bottles at speeds up to x3 times faster and at a higher accuracy than manual sorters can achieve. By using robotics, the company has seen a notable improvement in purity along with pick rates of up to 120 bottles per minute—an increase of up to 200%. The robots are removing up to 90% of contamination, on average, across different lines at Evergreen’s Clyde facility.
Evergreen President and CEO Omar Abuaita says replacing previously manual sorting processes with high-tech robotics is part of a strategic vision to transform not just his company, but the overall plastics recycling industry.
"With demand for recycled PET (rPET) at the highest levels in history, we simply can’t rely on outdated ways of doing business. Evergreen is playing for keeps. Automating our sorting lines allows us to support ever larger PET recycling streams, provide the millions of pounds of food grade rPET our customers have committed to purchasing, and achieve a safer, more efficient work environments for our team.”
Thanks to its expansion and infrastructure investments, Evergreen’s annual capacity of rPET has swelled from 40 million pounds one year ago to more than 147 million pounds. Evergreen has also increased the number of post-consumer PET bottles it collects and recycles, from two billion PET bottles annually to 11.6 billion bottles.
“The precision and accuracy of AI-enabled robotics has allowed us to better monitor material composition throughout our operation, increase capture, and ensure high quality in the rPET resin we produce,” says Greg Johnson, Evergreen general manager. “We want to recover all we can, and with AMP’s technology, we are—thereby helping to supply a higher-quality end product and a larger volume of recycled plastic for brands to source for their recycled content goals and sustainability commitments.”
In addition to PET, AMP’s AI platform finds and captures plastics including high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), and polystyrene (PS), sorted further by colour, clarity, and opacity, along with different form factors—lids, tubs, clamshells, cups, and more. AMP’s technology also recovers cardboard, paper, cans, cartons, and many other containers and packaging types reclaimed for raw material processing. It can quickly adapt to container packaging introduced into the recycling stream with recognition capabilities to the brand level.
“Evergreen is a leader in the transformation of recycling processes, and its application of AI-guided sortation is increasing plastic recycling rates and helping to close the loop on PET,” says Matanya Horowitz, AMP founder and CEO. “Evergreen’s repeat orders of our systems is a testament to the operational benefits of our AI and automation solutions, and we’re proud to play a role in the company’s expansion and modernisation efforts.”
Evergreen is among North America’s three largest plastic (PET) recyclers and producer of recycled PET (rPET), with locations in Albany, NY; Clyde, OH; Riverside, CA; and Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. In addition to six robots in Clyde, Evergreen has added six in Riverside, and will add three soon in Albany.