Lasso Is a Home Recycling Machine to Fix Our Recycling Problem

Good News Notes:

Recycling is something many of us take for granted, assuming what we throw in the bin ends up getting recycled properly. But current curbside systems aren’t particularly effective, especially if the material isn’t clean or a plastic isn’t actually recyclable, so much of what goes into your blue bin can end up in landfill. Enter the Lasso, a home recycling appliance that lets you bypass the curbside system almost completely.

Lasso Loop announced a prototype of its recycling appliance, also called Lasso, at CES 2022. CNET had the first chance to see a working proof of concept at a maker space in San Mateo, California.

In its current form, the Lasso is a big, gray box. At over 5 feet tall, it’s currently too big to fit in your kitchen without some major renovations, but Lasso Loop’s chief technology officer Phil Sanders tells me the final version will be smaller. Think countertop height, with a dishwasher on top. 

The Lasso accepts and sorts seven different types of materials: PET and HDPE plastic; brown, green and clear glass; aluminum and steel cans. Once you put an item into the machine, sensors and cameras check if it can actually be recycled. As well as scanning the size and shape of the item, cameras also look for any barcodes that can help detect material type. “It takes all those inputs and runs down a flowchart to determine what material it is,” Sanders says. If it’s not an accepted material, or if there’s an issue like you left the bottle cap on, the machine will reject it.

If it passes the test, the Lasso washes the item to remove contaminants and removes any labels. The labels are stored and you’ll need to empty them periodically just like you would a lint filter on a dryer. Once clean, materials move to a processor, which grinds up each item and spits the pieces out into separate containers at the bottom of the machine. This helps address one of the biggest problems with the current curbside recycling system: contamination…..”

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