YOU can help make recycling easier and cut down landfill waste!

trashMany people are confused about what they can recycle and often don’t heed on the side of caution, resulting in the majority of recyclable material being sent to a landfill instead. Vaish Krishnamurthy, of Clean Robotics, offers this informative blog entry as an invitation to discuss what environmentally conscious organizations would like to see in the future regarding waste treatment, pickup, sorting, and cost structures.

Take this survey, but read about it first, below!


Consider that there are only 19.2 years of landfill capacity left in the United States. Of the 251 million tons of municipal solid waste generated in 2012 (latest available), nearly 87 million tons were composted, representing a recycling rate of 34.5 percent. (This is improved from 10 percent in 1980.)

Unfortunately, most Americans find recycling confusing. Sixty-five percent of Americans don’t know which plastics are recyclable. We can talk about aspirational recycling – people with the greatest intent believing that you should be able to recycle certain things, so the logic is that the processors will figure it out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and only leads to contamination, usually resulting in material ending up in the landfill. The Environmental Research and Education Foundation has found that contamination rates on average rose from 7 to 16 percent in 2013.

The sooner we can get to sending zero waste to the landfill, the better we will be. Most facilities are trying to improve their diversion rates by relying on manual sorting at the source, which is highly confusing and unreliable. In spite of all the trouble with manual sorting, we know that a tremendous amount of recyclable material still ends up in landfills because the load is contaminated or the costs of transportation, processing and freight to a secondary commodity purchaser is more than the market price for that recycled material.


The pollution we are creating from trash is mind boggling. A solution is needed sooner rather than later. So, the Clean Robotics team is working on building an automated trash can to address the problem of manual sorting.

To better understand how automated sorting can impact an organization’s bottom line, Clean Robotics needs to know the impact of waste management and its costs to an organization. What would environmentally conscious organizations like to see in the future regarding waste treatment, pickup, sorting, and cost structures?


The team consists of green-conscious folks with a wide variety of backgrounds:

  • Vaish Krishnamurthy – CEO and founder of the company. Vaish brings more than 10 years of software and product development in a variety of industries ranging from telecommunications to health care. She holds a MS in Electrical Engineering from University of California, Riverside.
  • Koushil Sreenath – CTO and technical co-founder of the device. Koushil is a professor of ME at CMU. Koushil built a bipedal robot that was featured on the Discovery Channel, CNN, ESPN, Fox and CBS.
  • Charles Yhap – COO and experienced social entrepreneur that has worked in the fields of human rights and environmental protection. He has 10 years of experience and thrives in a mission-driven start-up organization.


Please help find a cost-effective solution to waste reduction. The survey is only 10 questions long and can be completed by clicking here. Thank you for your feedback!

You may also email Vaish at if you have any questions, comments or more detailed feedback.

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