GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — New technologies — including robots — at the Kent County Recycling and Education Center are helping to lower costs and improve recycling, the Department of Public Works says.

The robots use artificial intelligence to sort items, according to a Tuesday release from the DPW. They were funded by a grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

Several other new technologies, including an eddy current separator that captures metals like copper and aluminum, have also been installed recently, according to the department.

The DPW said these new technologies help the recycling center process more items and divert more material from landfills. They also require fewer people for certain jobs at the center, thus cutting costs.

It’s all part of a countywide goal to divert 90% of trash from landfills by 2030, DPW Director Dar Baas said in a statement.

But recent studies show that the Kent County Recycling and Education Center only processes about 25% of the material that could be recycled in the county, according to the DPW. Each year, about 75,000 tons of material that could be recycled ends up in the trash.

The DPW attributed these numbers to a lack of participation in recycling programs, as well as limited access.

The proposed Kent County Bioenergy Facility, which will be located near Byron Center, will help extract a great deal of that recyclable material, the DPW said.