Imagine, if you will, a home kitchen of the future in which a recycling appliance sits alongside the usual refrigerator and dishwasher. UK-based startup Lasso Loop Recycling is working to create just such a machine that would collect, clean and sort garbage in preparation for recycling. Notes Aldous Hicks, CEO of Lasso, “Clearly, we already harness technology to process our household items. So why not a domestic recycling appliance?”
Lasso’s prototype is expected be completed this quarter and will feature a vertical slot or tray for depositing items that consumers want to recycle. “A series of cameras and sensors will then analyze the packaging and decide if it’s recyclable.” If the item is not recyclable, it will be spit back out. But if it is recyclable, it will be steam-cleaned, ground down, and placed in a dedicated compartment at the bottom of the appliance. “When one or all of these boxes are full, you’ll use a smartphone app to organize a curbside collection.”
There is still much work to be done before Lasso’s closed-loop system could become a widespread reality. One hurdle is the current exclusion of paper and cardboard from the list of material’s Lasso’s machine will be able to process. And, when its product becomes available for purchase (likely in 2023), it could cost upwards of $3,000.
On its website, Lasso claims that customers could “receive cash returns within five years of ownership, subject to your consumption,” with the idea that customers might be compensated for their boxes of cleaned recyclables.