How AI can save the planet

Every day, artificial intelligence opens up incredible opportunities around the world. Today, artificial intelligence technology is being implemented in companies to improve decision making, business processes and obtain valuable information.

Technology has a significant impact on the goals of sustainable development.

Artificial Intelligence has great potential to save our planet: detect reductions in energy emissions, optimize energy production, monitor deforestation, predict extreme weather conditions, clean oceans and protect inhabitants, and much more.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some artificial intelligence solutions that save our planet. Also, you can find examples of AI startups that effectively invested in AI technology to save the planet.

AI solutions that save our planet

Clean and protect the oceans

71% of our planet is the ocean. But the earth is drowning in plastic pollution. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year and not all of it is recycled. [1]

Additionally, a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in partnership with the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050, the oceans will contain at least 937 million tons of plastic and only 895 million tons of fish. [2]

And there are many other such shocking facts.

So the first implementation of AI technology is to clean and protect the oceans from plastic. Have you ever wondered how AI can help clean up the oceans?

Robotic system for sorting plastic

In 2020, researchers at the University of Buffalo developed a robotic system based on machine learning that allows classifying plastics and discovering green solvents and new chemicals that break down plastics into reusable components.

The robotic system includes sensor technology and a machine learning model. Sensor technology records the molecular signature of each piece of plastic and machine learning identifies a specific piece of plastic based on molecular signatures.

Automated robot to detect plastic in rough waters

Razer company and startup CleanBot recently announced the development of a fully autonomous robot equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies that can detect marine plastic within two meters in rough waters. Powered by solar energy, the robot can collect up to 250kg of plastic in a single cycle.

ClearBot’s unique artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning technology will enable and empower governments and organizations around the world to scale up their sustainability efforts.”- Patricia Liu, Razer Chief of Staff

AI-powered robots improve recycling process

Recycling is a $ 200 billion industry, according to the Bureau for International Recycling. In most countries, recycling is considered a public matter and not a personal responsibility. Did you know that only 9% of all plastics are recycled? The rest usually end up in the oceans. Let’s take a closer look at some recycling facts. [3]

  • On November 17, 2020, at the America Recycles Summit, the EPA Director announced the goal of increasing the national recycling rate to 50% by 2030.
  • An estimated 94% of Americans support recycling.
  • Germany has the highest MSW recycling rate in the world.

AMP robotics

The company produces artificial intelligence robots that automate the identification, sorting and processing of the myriad items that are collected for recycling, at speeds twice as fast as humans and with 99% accuracy.

AMP Robotics operates in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe, integrating its technology with existing equipment to minimize the need for significant infrastructure changes.


ZenRobotics Recycler is a waste sorting system that separates raw materials from waste. The system is equipped with infrared sensors, a 3D sensor system, an RGB camera and a metal detector for the identification of waste.

The recycling system enables the recovery of valuable raw materials from construction waste. The artificial intelligence system is sold worldwide through a network of resellers in 49 countries.

AI to reduce food waste in supermarkets

Food waste is another growing problem around the world, and while waste occurs at all stages of the process (from production to consumption), consumers currently generate the most waste.

For example, in Germany, around twelve million tonnes of food are thrown away each year. And in the United States, almost 40 million tons – 80 billion pounds – every year! [4]

Therefore, AI technology also plays an important role in this global problem.

A report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Google estimates that technologies that use artificial intelligence to “eliminate food waste” could help generate up to $ 127 billion a year by 2030. [5]

So how can AI technology be implemented in supermarkets to reduce food waste?

Winnowing vision

The artificial intelligence platform, Winnow Vision identifies and weighs food waste dumped into containers powered by artificial intelligence in commercial kitchens. This platform can correctly identify unnecessary products in more than 80% of the cases.

The startup also established a cooperation with the Swedish company IKEA, which installed Winnow Vision in 23 stores in Great Britain and Ireland.

Whats Next?

Based on PWc research, it estimates that artificial intelligence for environmental applications could contribute $ 5.2 trillion to the global economy in 2030, which is 4.4% more than before. [6]

AI can enable our future systems to be more productive for the economy and nature”- Celine Herweijer, world leader in innovation and sustainability, PwC UK.

In the near future, artificial intelligence can make energy markets much more efficient, by unlocking new supplies, reducing transaction costs, and making it easier for users to identify what they want to buy from the market. In addition, it is expected to see AI solutions such as:

  • Smart, connected and livable cities designed by AI
  • A transparent digital Earth
  • Reinforced Learning for Earth Science Advances and More

Key takeaways

  • Artificial Intelligence has great potential to save our planet: detect reductions in energy emissions, optimize energy production, monitor deforestation, predict extreme weather conditions, clean oceans and protect inhabitants, and much more.
  • Examples of artificial intelligence solutions: a robotic system to sort plastic, robots powered by artificial intelligence to improve the recycling process, containers powered by artificial intelligence to reduce food waste in supermarkets, and more.
  • Artificial intelligence plays a vital role in achieving not only environmental goals but all other sustainability goals.


[1] Our planet is drowning in plastic pollution.
[2] The new economy of plastics Rethinking the future of plastics.

[3] 41 Revealing Recycling Statistics for 2021.

[4] Food waste in the United States in 2021.

[5] Let’s build a circular economy.

[6] How AI can enable a sustainable future.

[7] 8 ways AI can help save the planet

Image credit: Pprojekt Bez Tytulu; provided by the author

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