In our latest episode of NothingWasted!, we chat with Matanya Horowitz, Founder & CEO, AMP Robotics, a company that is changing the economics of recycling through industrial artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.
AMP’s robotic sorting systems help facilities process a variety of paper, metals, and plastics while overcoming the limitations of manual processes. We spoke with Matanya about how his team is finding new solutions to help facilities deal with challenges related to COVID-19, the importance of good communication at this uncertain time and more!
Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:
Waste360: AMP just hit a remarkable 1 billion milestone. Can you tell us about that?
Horowitz: We’ve achieved 1 billion picks over the past year, between all the robots we have deployed. I think the figure speaks to the persistence of all of these systems. A billion is a huge number and it requires a whole fleet of robots working day in and day out. Our team is excited to be making a difference and looking forward to the second billion, the tenth billion, and onward from there.
Waste360: Can you tell us how AMP has pivoted in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic?
Horowitz: It’s been interesting to watch what the second-order effects of the pandemic have been. Recycling facilities across the country were already dealing with challenges around labor—whether it was turnover or safety or simply the cost of all the manual labor involved with running a traditional MERF. And all of those issues have only become worse. Maintaining safety is especially difficult now, and turnover is also increasing significantly as sorters are worried about COVID-19. For us, we think we can provide a tool that helps in this new environment. And facilities are looking at how they can deploy our systems to spread out workers, or in areas where workers are most hesitant to be sifting through the material. We’re happy we can play a role in helping facilities plan their operations in light of the new challenges.
Waste360: Are you seeing increased investment in the AI-supported recycling sector?
Horowitz: Absolutely. When you go out to pitch an equipment company in the recycling industry, a lot of investors are fairly skeptical. They know the recycling world is a tough one to be in; that it’s tough on equipment; that you really have to prove to your customers that you are providing value—and they’re going to be skeptical as well. But we found that there were investors who really believe that our technology can help improve the economics of the recycling process. And, if we’re successful, the recycling industry could be bigger than it is today. And that was an exciting thing to see—that this message was resonating.