AI-based systems for optical classification of construction waste and mixed construction waste





    Have you ever wondered where all the construction and demolition waste goes after an office block or an old factory building is torn down? Where do they take tons of concrete, steel, glass, bricks, wood, and plastic? And, if they simply dispose of the waste in a landfill, isn’t it a recipe for an environmental disaster?

    At first glance, everything that remains after a demolition or a teardown is a huge and seemingly useless pile of debris. In fact, waste accumulated by a typical construction site does not look very different. In terms of environmental impact, both kinds of waste account for more than a third of all waste generated in the EU. So, what happens to the debris? It has to be decontaminated from lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials, sorted, and then recycled.

    Despite its potential, the level of recycling and material recovery of construction and demolition waste varies greatly across the EU, ranging from less than 10% to over 90%. EU countries apply different definitions of construction and demolition waste, which makes cross-country comparisons difficult. Germany happens to be at the forefront with a recycling rate for construction and demolition waste of 89.8%.

    However, several steps of the process still need to be further streamlined. Firstly, it is the accuracy with which the components of the demolition and construction debris and rubble are identified. Secondly, it is quick and precise decision making on what the next steps are going to be. Finally, it is the distribution of the materials after isolation, extraction, and recycling have taken place.

    Optocycle is offering an AI-powered system that identifies the “ingredients” of the collected waste using a neural network. Then it forms an opinion on where and how the waste has to be disposed of, and what need to be recycled. Also, the system identifies possible buyers of the recycled materials and establishes a connection with them.

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