Every year, several million tons of plastic waste generated worldwide is leading to a landfill problem and their incineration polluting the environment. The ever-increasing domestic and industrial plastic waste raises more concerns over their recycling which offers an efficient solution to minimize waste output and reduces the usage of natural resources. However, sorting is a crucial step in the recycling process as it affects the quality and cost of the final products.

Dr. G. Manoj Kumar

A research team (Mr. Rajendhar Junjuri and Dr. G. Manoj Kumar) from the University of Hyderabad demonstrated a simple and low cost method for sorting the plastic. They employed a laser based technique known as Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to generate the data from different types of plastics. All the samples were collected from a recycling plant to simulate the conditions of a real-time application. The generated data was combined with Machine learning to identify the type of the unknown plastic. This system demonstrated successful identification of samples from plastic waste with an average accuracy of around 97%.  Their approach has great potential in realizing a low-cost sorting system for plastic waste recycling.

Mr. Rajendhar Junjuri

The above work “Low-Cost Sorting of Plastic Waste” authored by Mr. Rajendhar Junjuri and Dr. G. Manoj Kumar is published in  Optics & Photonics News (OPN) year review 2020 published by Optical Society of America (OSA). Each year, the December issue of OPN highlights the most exciting optics research to emerge in the preceding 12 months. This year 30 intriguing works were selected out of 115 summaries submitted by various research teams across the globe.

Link for the publication: https://www.osa-opn.org/home/articles/volume_31/december_2020/extras/low-cost_sorting_of_plastic_waste/

Research PDF link: https://www.osa-opn.org/opn/media/Images/PDF/2020/1220/61_OPN_12_20.pdf?ext=.pdf