Recycling sounds so simple. Separate materials that can be re-used, such as plastic, glass and aluminium, and then wait for them to be collected. The reality is anything but, though. What can be recycled depends on where you live. And if there’s any contamination, due to leftover food or mixed up materials, everything you’ve collected could end up in a landfill site. The solution? Possibly a company like Lasso Loop Recycling. The UK-based startup is working on a machine that collects, cleans and sorts garbage for recycling. Better yet, it looks like an everyday kitchen appliance. The type that wouldn’t stand out next to a refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine.
The still-in-development Lasso will have a vertical slot or tray for depositing items. A series of cameras and sensors will then analyse the packaging and decide if it’s recyclable. No good? Then the object will be returned to you, rather like a vending machine spitting out change. Otherwise, the material will be steam-cleaned to remove leftover food, grease, dirt and labels. Finally, it will be ground down and placed in a dedicated compartment at the bottom of the Lasso. When one or all of these boxes are full, you’ll use a smartphone app to organize a kerbside collection. A driver can then pick it up, confident that the materials can be used to create new products.