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Evergreen, an Ohio-based producer of recycled food-grade polyethylene terephthalate (rPET), announced that it will install artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled bottle sorters at its plastics recycling and plastics manufacturing facility. rPET from Albany, New York.

When the installation is complete in mid-2022, Evergreen says it will have deployed 15 “high-speed, highly accurate robotic lines at its three locations in the United States.”

Colorado-based AMP Robotics Corp. will supply the robotic sorting lines that will be used in Albany. AMP also installed AI-enabled robotic sorting lines at the Evergreen plant in Clyde, Ohio, in April 2021 and supplied sorters to the Evergreen Riverside plant in California last August.

“With demand for recycled PET (rPET) at the highest levels in history, we simply cannot rely on outdated ways of working,” said Omar Abuaita, President and CEO of Evergreen. “Evergreen is playing for good. Automating our sorting lines allows us to support ever-increasing PET recycling streams, deliver the millions of pounds of food-grade rPET our customers have pledged to buy, and create a safer and more efficient for our team.

Abuaita says replacing old manual sorting processes with high-tech robotics is part of the company’s strategic vision to transform not just the company, but the entire plastics recycling industry.

Abuaita last month disclosed that Evergreen, a portfolio company of Houston-based private equity firm Sterling Group, has invested more than $200 million in modernization, capacity expansion and acquisitions over the past of the last 12 months. the AMP Robotics the units are part of this investment.

Evergreen says it now recycles more than 11.6 billion post-consumer PET bottles a year, up from 2 billion in 2021. Chief Executive Greg Johnson, speaking at the Plastics Recycling Conference this week in Maryland, says AI-enabled sorting lines are an absolute necessity to increase both the speed and accuracy of sorting Evergreen processes’ growing volume of PET bottles.

“Through the use of AI-powered robotics, we can identify and pick up more contaminants from the stream, leaving high-quality clear and green PET bottles to be recycled,” says Johsnon. “The consistency and reliability of robots has revolutionized our process. Our goal is to capture every bottle we can use in our food grade rPET pellets. »

Evergreen’s annual food-grade rPET capacity is 73,500 tons, up from 20,000 tons just a year ago. When the company’s expansion to Evergreen Clyde is completed in mid-2022, its annual rPET capacity will reach 108,500 tonnes, according to the company.

Created in 1998, Evergreen operates its original plant in Ohio, plus three it later acquired in Albany, Riverside and Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada.