A Case for Waste Segregation


The Automated Waste Segregator is an interesting student project from the Innovation Zone at Automation Expo 2018.

  • Client


  • Services

    Solution for a segregation system for household use, so that it can be sent directly for processing.

  • Technologies

    Process Automation

  • Dates




In today’s era, garbage disposal is a huge cause of concern for the entire world. A voluminous amount of waste generated is disposed by means, which have an adverse effect on the environment. The economic value of waste is best realised when it is segregated. The average resident produces seven and a half pounds of garbage every day that is buried down in landfills and litters the land costing a great amount of money. Nowadays, people face no more critical trouble than the need to save the weakening environment, mainly in urban areas, where solid wastes are uselessly dumped. It has been observed that cities have no controlled structure for garbage disposal. Each year, millions of dollars are spent picking up litter and more is thrown away in valuable materials that could be recycled. As humanity develops new technology and equipment, the level of waste increases every day.


This paper proposes an Automated Waste Segregator (AWS), which is a cheap, easy to use solution for a segregation system for household use, so that it can be sent directly for processing. It is designed to sort the refuse into metallic waste, wet waste and dry waste. There is always a better way of reusing the waste. Waste can actually become a source of raw material. Like say residential waste or garbage that is generated from houses like leftover peels of vegetables and fruits, paper, polythene, metallic cans, batteries etc. can be reused wisely.


Need for Automation

The consequences of traditional practice cause health hazards, pollution of soil, water, air and food, unpleasant surroundings, loss of precious resources. Landfills are an increasingly becoming a pressing problem. Segregating waste is not just of environmental importance but of economic concern too. We are all aware that automation has made life convenient for us. Implementation of automation for waste segregation will make it easy for MSW workers. The workers, who handle the waste, face inhuman conditions to segregate the waste manually. Rag pickers and separators who work in open dumps are exposed to large amount of toxic fumes. They suffer from serious health issues. So, this method of waste segregation is practiced to avoid manual operation mistakes, reduce labour intensity and improve working efficiency. This automated way of segregating waste aims at minimising manual handling and efficiently transport waste. So that, the major benefit is for healthy environment.


Block Flow Diagram


Fig 1


The Automatic Waste Segregation is an assembly of 3 rollers, conveyer belt, power control unit, filtration unit, metal detection unit and moisture detection unit and actuation unit. Out of 3 rollers, one of which is mechanically linked to the driving motor and the conveyer belt being driven by rear mounted roller.


The entire process is controlled by Arduino Mega-2560 controller.


Power control unit

An ultrasonic sensor is mounted at the start of the conveyer belt to detect the presence of any object to energise the conveyer belt driving motor. This contributes in power saving.


Filtration unit

Air blower and a combination of three nets (filters) are used to segregate light weighted waste particles into metal fillings and other non-magnetic particles. Assembly of nets is magnetised via electromagnets to segregate metallic (light-weighted) from non-metallic (light weighted) wastes.


Metal detection unit

Inductive proximity sensor detects metal particles and transmits digital signals to the controller.



Moisture detection unit

Moisture content of the wet waste is measured using an analog moisture sensor that further transmits analog output to the controller.


Actuation unit

Motor flappers are used to drive the waste into specified bins.


List of Components

Sensor (S)/Final Control Element (F)/Switching Unit (U)/ Controller(C)



Operating voltage? Operating range


Ultrasonic module (S)

5 V ? 4 metres


Inductive Proximity Sensor (S)

24 V ? Detection range: up to 8mm


Moisture Sensor (S)

5 V ? contact type


Motors (F)

12 V DC geared motor


Arduino (C)

Mega 2560


Relay Board (U)

4 channel


Air Blower

230 V AC




When the presence of waste is detected by ultrasonic sensor, the conveyer belt is set in motion. Next, the Filtration Unit segregates the light weighted particles from the heavier ones, which is further segregated into metallic and non-metallic waste by passing the lighter particles through magnetised nets that attracts magnetic particles. Metal segregation starts with inductive proximity sensor, detecting a metal waste following which the motor flapper drives the metal waste into its particular bin. The pair of contact type moisture sensors distinguishes between dry and wet waste and the second motor flapper drives dry waste into its respective bin, while wet waste is allowed to exit through the rear end of the conveyer belt.


Future Upgradations

1.         Preassembly will be added to the system which will have a vibrating chute and heat belt.

2.         Controller will be upgraded to PLC or DCS (for further up-gradation for complex systems).

3.         Actuators will be upgraded to pneumatic actuators.


Under R&D

1.         Humidity sensor to reduce the sensing time for Dry and Wet waste detection.

2.         Capacitive sensor for detection of glass, wood and plastic.



Waste segregation has always been an idea that we wanted to execute for the betterment of human life. A lot of people perform waste segregation manually but in a world full of fast paced materialistic activities, manual labour proves itself replaceable due to its time constraint, inconsistency and inaccuracy.


Our model of Automatic Waste Segregator segregates metal, dry and wet waste using various sensors for detection of this material and segregates out all the wastes through motor-flapper assembly. Our motive was to design it as fully automatic machine by only putting the waste in the segregator and getting the segregated waste.


Our idea is designed basically for household or domestic waste segregation and can be applied on a large scale in societies and in dumping yards where the waste is just mixed together and thrown out. With use of advance sensors, we might be able to implement it in segregating industrial waste which would be a greater achievement in the field of science.


The proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it.

-Barry Commoner



Pix1: The operational model of Automatic Waste Segregator presented in Innovation Zone, Automation Expo 2018.

Pix2: The Tem Members (L-R): Sneha Gosai, Janhavi Sail, Pranav Khairnar, Keyur Rathod, Soumes Ghosh (Team Leader), Shubham Mandwale and Gautam Makwana.