Innovation That Matters

Lasso wants to make recycling easier, cheaper and more stylish | Photo source Lasso

Waste bin automatically sorts items for recycling

Work & Lifestyle

A Californian startup is designing a waste bin that can remove the problem of contamination from home waste recycling

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Spotted: We all like to think we are doing our bit for the planet, but how often have you put something in the recycling bin without being sure that it is in fact recyclable? How often have you recycled packaging without rinsing it first? A Californian startup, Lasso, hopes to demystify this process so that we can handle our recyclable waste more efficiently and effectively. The Lasso is a robotic system that cleans, sorts, and prepares waste for recycling – simply allowing users to throw everything in one bin.

The rise of single-stream recycling, where consumers can deposit all of their waste in one container, has massively helped recycling efforts. However, this has also made recycling a less efficient and more expensive process. In fact, around a quarter of the materials placed in single-stream recycling bins cannot be recycled at all because of contamination from other items in the bin. Lasso hopes to change this by eliminating the problem of contamination.

Lasso is both a product and a service. The product is an automated recycling bin: users can place an item in the Lasso, the machine analyses it and if it is recyclable, it is cleaned, crushed and prepared for disposal. The company also plans on starting a waste pick-up service that will collect the materials from the machine once it is full. 

The founder of Lasso, Aldous Hicks, believes that “when you mix up different items all together at the beginning…they are difficult to separate later. Everything then ends up being wasted”. According to Lasso representative Kieran White, Hicks responded to this issue by creating a “‘used-materials in/valuable products out’ solution for his home recycling system. He has since spent part of his life working to fix this vital problem.”

Lasso views its system as a way to ensure that the maximum amount of materials possible enters the recycling chain. The company has raised enough capital through crowdfunding to build the Lasso waste container and expects to start shipping in late 2022, followed by a limited launch of its pick-up service. However, this convenience does not come cheap; initial models are said to start at around €2,885.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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