In theory, this system would do away with recycling plants. The collection box could simply be redistributed to manufacturers and turned into new products requiring no additional hardware. (A process called closed loop recycling.)
Aldous Hicks, CEO of Lasso, believes everyone should treat recycling like washing clothes and dishes. “Millions of households are already practicing the exact steps we need to take,” he said. in a TEDx conference last month. “For example, we use our washing machines to clean our clothes, so we can run them over and over again. Obviously, we are already harnessing technology to process our household items. So why not a household recycling device? The Lasso concept has drawbacks, however. The company is currently targeting seven materials: aluminum and steel, as well as two plastics and three types of glass. Paper and cardboard, which are used for most online orders, are not on the list.
Price could also be an issue. Hicks told Engadget his prototype is expected to be completed this quarter. The company has open reservations on its website, but there is no deposit or final sticker price at this time. (It’s basically a sign-up sheet for email updates.) And when the final version is ready – which is likely 2033, according to Hicks, it could cost around $ 3,500. It’s terribly expensive, just like refrigerators when they first hit the market. “In 1919, people paid the then equivalent price of an average new car,” Hicks argued at his TEDx talk.
This price could be offset by recycling payments. On its website, Lasso says guests could “receive cash returns within five years of ownership, subject to your consumption.” The idea being that you are saving someone else’s money by cleaning up For now, however, this is a theoretical business model. Lasso will need to complete his product, complete a pilot program, and in all likelihood raise more cash to realize his vision. Recycling is a tall order, but we’re happy that someone – even if it’s a small startup – is thinking about a home solution.