Lasso Recycles Packaging Waste at Home
Globally, a staggering 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled (The National Geographic, 2017). To remedy this, UK start-up Lasso is carving out an entirely new appliance category – a home recycling device for plastic, glass and metal – that empowers consumers to bypass global recycling systems and take control of their waste.
First revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lasso is a smart bin that uses machine learning, near-infrared camera technology and spectral imaging to identify the material of an inserted item. If an object is accepted, it’s then cleaned with high-pressure water jets, ground up and sorted to store with like materials. The device fills up between three to eight times per year, at which users organise a pick-up directly through Lasso.
The device is targeted at the 46% of US residents who say that properly sorting recycling is difficult, and the further 42% who admit that they don’t recycle as much as they should (SWNS, 2018). Sensors take the guesswork out of recycling and give consumers the confidence that everything is acceptable and free from food and cross-contamination.
An accompanying app tracks a household’s carbon footprint and connects to local deposit return schemes to pay consumers directly for the material they recycle. It also features a barcode scanner for use in stores to check if a product is recyclable before purchase.
By accurately sorting and cleaning materials, Lasso enables resources to be reprocessed into materials of an equal value, rather than being downcycled. Currently, only 2% of plastic is recycled into a material of the same value (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2018), and tools to properly manage waste will reduce the need for virgin materials.
The inaugural device is set to retail in 2023 and Lasso is already hinting that a later version will accept paper, plastic film and food scraps, and come in various sizes for personal and commercial use.
For more innovations helping consumers minimise their footprint at home, see Light-Impact Homes.