Trash Talk

New Portsmouth Facility Deploys AI Technology to Increase Recycling and Extend Landfill Life

by Brandy Centolanza

Recycling and Disposal Solutions of Virginia, Inc. (RDS), in collaboration with AMP Robotics Corp., is leading efforts to increase recycling and reduce the amount of municipal solid waste that ends up in landfills thanks to a new innovative program using artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

The first of its kind in Virginia, the new technology is now in use at a 33,000 square foot facility located at 3325 Frederick Blvd. in Portsmouth. A grand opening was held May 29 with AMP CEO Matanya Horowitz (pictured above), kicking off the proceedings by welcoming the media and distinguished guests.


The new AI-powered facility is designed to extract recyclables and organic materials from bagged garbage. The technology can currently process 150 tons of local waste per day. More than 60 percent of material headed for the landfill can now be sorted as AI technology diverts recyclables off of a conveyor belt while the remaining trash is compacted prior to being taken from the facility to the dump. The equipment is able to separate plastics, newspaper and office paper, cardboard, aluminum and other products that can be recycled.

“It is able to see ‘oh look there is an aluminum can or a piece of cardboard,’” says Matanya Horowitz, CEO of AMP.  “This allows us to sort waste in new ways and opens up a new era for the waste industry.”

The new technology is beneficial in myriad ways: by diverting items that can be recycled, it extends the life of the landfills, alleviates impact to the environment, and keeps disposal costs down. It also limits exposure of workers to potentially hazardous waste.

“That is pretty exciting,” Horowitz says.

Additionally, it makes the process easier at home or the office because now it doesn’t “require consumers to do a lot of the work sorting or worrying about what they are putting in the trash,” he says.

RDS, which was founded in 2004, also operates facilities in Roanoke, Va., as well as in North Carolina and Georgia. RDS and Amp first formed a partnership in 2017.

“At RDS, we’ve been early and enthusiastic adopters of advanced technologies to increase recovery and landfill diversion, drive down processing costs for local governments, and generate data for continuous facility improvement,” says Joe Benedetto, president of RDS. “AMP delivers best-in-class sorting solutions, and it was a natural fit to partner on this project and pioneer an economical way of capturing the value in our waste, especially as local communities close their recycling programs due to increasing costs.”

Portsmouth, which has been providing recycling services since 2005, “is a fantastic place to set up this system,” says Horowitz, adding that the region is “at the forefront,” as communities across the nation face the challenge of lower recycling rates due to cost. Horowitz hopes the new facility will be a model that can eventually be implemented elsewhere in Coastal Virginia and beyond.

“We have been able to show it works well,” Horowitz says, noting that “some have thought that this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Horowitz hopes that the new AI recycling facility will an encouragement to those communities who don’t have recycling programs, as well as those who may be skeptical about recycling in general.

“Everyone involved now has that reassurance,” he says.

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