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Futuristic new appliance uses A.I. to sort and prep your recycling

Lasso: The power to change recycling for good

Given the potential planet-ruining stakes involved, you’d expect that everyone on Earth would be brilliant at recycling. But folks are lazy and, no matter how much we might see footage of plastic-clogged oceans on TV, the idea of sorting out the plastic, glass, and paper for the weekly recycling day clearly strikes many as just a little bit too much effort.

Step forward U.K. startup Lasso Loop Recycling with a solution everyone can get on board with. The company is developing a household machine called Lasso, which promises to do this sorting process on your behalf.

To use it, customers will simply have to load items into a vertical slot or tray, where artificial intelligence baked into cameras then analyzes them, steam-cleans the items to remove everything from labels to leftover food, and sorts it all into a special recycling compartment. If it turns out that an item is not recyclable, it is ejected so that you can dispose of it by another means.

You’ll also be able to book a curbside recycling pickup with an associated app. The same app can reportedly let users track items in real-time, and even check products for recyclability before buying them using an in-app barcode scanner.


It’s certainly a neat idea, made even better by the fact that this isn’t some industrial recycling plant like the sort you’d find at a refuse center. Instead, it looks like an appliance, meaning it would sit comfortably next to a washing machine, tumble dryer, fridge, or dishwasher. Lasso is reportedly initially targeting aluminum, steel, two types of plastic, and three types of glass as its products for recycling. No paper, cardboard, or food waste just yet.

While it is definitely an intriguing concept, though, don’t expect it any time soon. According to Engadget, a final version could be more than a decade away and cost around $3,500. To get to the point at which this could be manufactured, the company will need to turn its theoretical business into a finished product, which will require raising funds, additional R&D, and more.

If you’re interested, you can visit Lasso’s website where you can register your interest. You’re able to reserve a model, including picking a delivery address and even (possibly prematurely) a color. There’s no exchange of money or financial details at this point in time.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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