The recycling industry was already struggling before the pandemic. Now, an increasing number of cities are suspending recycling services, partly out of fear that workers might contract the coronavirus from one another while sorting through used water bottles, food containers and boxes.

One solution: Let robots do the job.

Since the coronavirus took hold in the United States last month, AMP Robotics has seen a “significant” increase in orders for its robots that use artificial intelligence to sift through recycled material, weeding out trash.

“Some facilities that were looking at getting one or two robots are now saying, ‘We need quite a bit more,’” said the Colorado company’s chief executive, Matanya Horowitz. “It’s all moving quite fast.”

Before the pandemic, automation had been gradually replacing human work in a range of jobs, from call centers to warehouses and grocery stores, as companies looked to cut labor costs and improve profit.

This content was originally published here.