Renewi Belgium invests in innovative SMART trucks with the objective of sorting correctly at the source. From mid-2022, all trucks will be equipped with artificially intelligent cameras.
It is the region of Flanders’ ambition to become the circular hub of Europe. The objective is to keep materials in the product cycle as long as possible. As a material, that is, not as energy. Boosting the circular economy is the ambition waste-to-product company and Belgian market leader Renewi is keen to be at the forefront of. High-quality recycling is an important first step in giving the circular economy the necessary boost.
"We consider it our duty, as waste-to-product market leader and connector in the circular economy, to make everyone aware that proper sorting is a prerequisite for recycling. By doing so, we are helping to build a circular economy, in which we claim that waste does not exist," says Mark Thys, Managing Director Renewi Belgium. "Everyone will have to take responsibility for this. Sorting is crucial to produce high-quality secondary materials. We continue to invest in innovative methods to give waste a second life," says Thys.
"Investing in smart cameras, and thereby properly identifying the different flows of waste, is an important innovative method to stimulate the circular economy, and thus the ambition of Flanders," says Mark Thys, Managing Director Renewi Belgium.
These cameras are not there for no reason. They are there to help Renewi to reinforce the new rules of the eighth edition of the Flemish Regulation for the Sustainable Management of Material Cycles and Waste Materials (VLAREMA). The Flemish Government requires all collectors of industrial waste to ensure correct observance of the sorting obligations imposed on waste producers. This new obligation came into force on 1 September 2021. Vlarema 8 stipulates, among other things, that companies are not allowed to mix recyclable fractions with residual waste. From now on, 24 different types of waste must be collected separately. "This means that we, as collectors, are also expected to ensure that this sorting obligation is correctly met. To be able to do this properly, Renewi is investing in innovative smart cameras," says Mark Thys. Correct sorting is the first necessary step in recovering materials and reusing them in new products. All this is necessary to become circular. This way, we avoid having to dig up, cut down and then import raw materials over and over again. This not only has ecological, but also economic advantages.
Today, the first 25 Renewi SMART trucks are already on the road. These trucks are equipped with smart cameras which will take various photos of the waste accepted from each customer. These photos are then processed by AI algorithms to automatically recognise different materials.
Waste collectors must record all feedback they give their customers. To make this feedback fully objective, advanced automation of waste acceptance by means of artificially intelligent cameras is needed so the waste is no longer accepted manually by the driver, as is currently the case. That way, Renewi can monitor the sorting behaviour and gain insight into the type of waste, the volumes and the value. "Effective innovations such as these have a positive impact on overall business operations while they also determine the difference between meeting an obligation or staying ahead of the market as Renewi does," says Jan Meynen, CEO of Viu More. The objective is to equip all trucks with cameras with artificially intelligent software.