MSU recycling center introduces a robotic sorter to help handle recyclables

Local News
Michigan State University

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan State University Surplus Store and Recycling Center introduces a new robotic sorter to it’s campus to more effectively handle recyclables.

The university is making efforts to divert campus’ waste from landfills, its leaders announced today.

The automated sorter was purchased using the funds from a $180,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Also a $52,000 contribution from the Surplus Store and Recycling Center was used for the sorter as well.

“People across campus and throughout mid-Michigan have made the recycling center the success that it is thanks to their commitment to reducing waste destined for a landfill. The new sorter helps us better handle those recyclables by identifying items more accurately and 50 percent more quickly than human staff while reducing how often staff have to touch potentially hazardous items.”

Kris Jolley, Manager of the Surplus Store and Recycling Center

The robotic sorter has been installed on the material sort line, with collected items that staff and the sorter pick through for recyclables.

The goal of the sorter is to replace two sort-line positions, aiding the center to reduce labor costs and recoup the investment cost within a few years.

“MSU has set an ambitious goal of diverting 70 percent of its waste from landfills by 2024 to further reduce its environmental footprint, and this new technology is an important step toward that,” said Amy Butler, MSU’s director of sustainability. “But it also continues MSU’s drive to foster a culture of sustainability by providing students planned hands-on learning opportunities.”

On an average year, the Surplus Store and Recycling Center diverts 6,000 tons of material from the landfill to be recycled, composted or reused. It collects and processes 4,500 tons of recyclables from buildings all across campus.

The Surplus Store and Recycling Center opened in 2009. It has helped reduce MSU’s general building waste sent to landfills by more than 50 percent by volume and redirected 100 million pounds of waste.

Individuals can drop off their recyclables all week during the day except from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays and on select holidays. Items can be brought to the public drop-off at 468 Green Way in East Lansing, just off of Farm Lane south of Service Road on the campus.

Items accepted are: plastic bottles and tubs, cloudy No. 2 plastic bottles and jugs, cardboard, boxboard, mixed paper, newspaper, metal, glass and books.

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