Packaging Waste : The Sustainable Packaging Coalition Awards honor AMP Robotics

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In times of extended producer responsibility and the publics wish for more sustainable packaging, more and more companies invest a lot of money and know-how into finding better, greener packaging solutions. To honor the most innovative companies in this field the Sustainbale Packaging Coalition gives out the SPC Innovator Awards. The goal of these awards is to highlight novel solutions and inspire other organizations within the space to test and scale sustainable packaging innovations.

This years winner are:

Innovation in Responsible Sourcing Winner

  • Flöter Verpackungs-Service GmbH, AirWave PaperWave: Flöter Verpackungs-Service GmbH’s inflatable paper cushion solution actively works to replace plastic e-commerce cushions.

Innovation in Design Optimization Winner

  • WestRock, KD-Fold™: The KD-Fold™ uses an average of 50% less paper than a small, corrugated box needed for the same contents.

The awards are not only dedicated to packaging companies but also to recyclers. This years winner highlights the importance of digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence in the recycling process.

Innovation in Recovery Winner

  • AMP Robotics for its collaboration with Sonoco

AMP Robotics’s winning innovation turned to the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to successfully sort through the messiest of recycling streams. In partnership with Sonoco, a global packaging provider, AMP Robotics created a new material category within its neural network specific to rigid paperboard cans—items like Pringles cans, coffee and snack containers. The partnership drives increased recycling rates for spiral-wound paper canisters with steel and paper bottoms produced by Sonoco and other manufacturers. In addition to being a manufacturer, Sonoco is a recycler, operating more than 40 recycling facilities globally. The company has deployed an AMP Cortex™ intelligent robotics system in one of its facilities, with a second planned in another; this recycling relationship enables Sonoco to directly test and leverage AMP’s technology.

AMP is working with companies across the spectrum of recyclable materials to adapt its AI platform to the specificity of a manufacturer or brand and disperse the sorting capability to materials recovery facilities (MRFs) with its robotic sorting systems. After beginning testing in 2021, their AI is now able to successfully identify and sort 50 billion packaging types and will only improve with more technological advancements. With more and more companies setting PCR commitments, AMP Robotics went through an iterative series of real-world MRF trials to recover more and more materials from the waste stream. Any MRF with an AMP Cortex system can now accurately and efficiently sort Sonoco’s paper can to the desired stream. This enables manufacturers to directly influence what’s recoverable and take advantage of the ability to capture more of their specific packaging.