Innovation Story

12 Apr 2022

EUROPEN members join new consortium to develop artificial intelligence model for packaging waste sorting

The Perfect Sorting Consortium will bring together EUROPEN members Danone, Colgate-Palmolive, Ferrero, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble on the one hand, and National Test Centre Circular Plastics (NTCP), LVMH Recherche, Incorporated, Michelin, Ghent University (Belgium) and Radboud University (the Netherlands) on the other hand. In the course of the next two years, the consortium will develop and test an artificial intelligence (AI) decision model that would help separate packaging that is not currently properly sorted.

As part of the consortium, NTCP will test a wide range of packaging products provided by the brand-owners using its own flexible and modular sorting lines with industrial equipment. The assessments will be used to further develop the packaging sorting model of the University of Ghent. In addition, NTCP, in collaboration with the universities of Ghent and Radboud, will develop an AI decision model to detect, identify, and classify packaging beyond the current sorting streams. The AI decision model the consortium will test would detect and sort products based on multiple attributes such as colour, application, shape or material. This would have the potential to increase the sorting and recycling rates of packaging waste, as well as recyclates quality.

An AI decision model would help to properly separate post-consumer waste such as food and non-food packaging, and allow for recyclates to meet the required specifications to be used again for food-grade applications. This could also provide a boost for the recycling of flexible and multi-material packaging, which is currently difficult to sort and recycle.

At the end of the two-year project, the partners of the Perfect Sorting Consortium are aiming to successfully test the AI decision model in an industrial sorting plant.

Discover more here.