A solution to our surmounting waste problem is robots. Their job description is already suited for the task: they do tasks repeatedly and unerringly, even in undesirable environments. So why not use robots in waste management?
There are plenty of automatic sorting machines established in the recycling industry. However the majority of waste does not get the chance to be recycled. We end up with landfills brimming with recyclable waste.
An idea, I propose, is an autonomous scavenger robot. Many robotics get inspiration from insects and I believe this is a perfect application. It will be mostly autonomous in the sense that it will live, operate, and replicate in waste environments virtually by itself. Being a scavenger by nature, these machines will get their energy anyway they can. In a landfill there is an abundance of energy to be harnessed. Some species of robot will thrive on generating power from food wastes by chemical means. Others will break down plastics inside an electronic stomach to produce energy, and as a side effect, make those plastics available for recycling.
Automating these machines will prove the most difficult process because by inheritance they should self-replicate.
Next post: More thoughts on Robotics