Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling
Monday December 31, 2018. 08:07 PM , from Ars Technica
Video by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)
Update: It's New Year's eve and Ars staffers are enjoying a winter break (inevitably filled with some joy rides and whatever that choose-your-own Black Mirror thing is). As such, we're resurfacing a few favorites from the site archives appropriate for the occasion—like this tour of a facility that will inevitably be busy post-holidays. Our story on the Sims Municipal Recycling Center originally ran on December 7, 2015, and it appears unchanged below.
BROOKLYN, New York—A conveyor belt is keeping material flying past at speeds that require both concentration and rapid eye movement if you wanted to track a single item. Above the constant roar of all the heavy equipment, it's just possible to make out the brief hissing of jets of high-pressure air. Those jets are produced where the conveyor belt ends, and most of the material plunges onto a second belt below. Each hiss, however, causes a carefully chosen item to leap off the end of the belt and soar into a different collection area, where yet another conveyor belt takes it on its way.
The process of carefully choosing which items to sift out is all done without human intervention. It's based on how that object reflects light that's outside the range of human vision.
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