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Recycling gets a high-tech, high-cost upgrade at CES 2022


As we try to combat climate change, humanity is giving a high-tech makeover to one of the oldest conservation tactics: recycling. 

In theory, recycling is great. Use materials, then repurpose those materials in something new instead of dumping them in a landfill. In reality, it’s more complicated. Recycled materials must be cleaned. Not all plastics are recyclable. And recycling improperly could cause entire batches of recyclable materials to be sent to landfills, where they can take hundreds or even millions of years to break down, according to EPA estimates. 

Lasso Loop has recognized these challenges and is using technology to create what it calls “simple, convenient and incentivized recycling.”

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At CES 2022, Lasso Loop debuted the prototype of its new in-home recycling appliance, called Lasso, which aims to “offer 100% recycling and prevent materials from ever reaching the landfill or oceans,” according to a company press release. The Lasso prototype is roughly the size of a dishwasher or washing machine, and it works similarly to those appliances by cleaning seven common plastics, metals and glass. “The recycling process cleans and removes contaminants like food, grease, dirt, and sticky labels, while keeping the materials separate — guaranteeing manufacturers with pure, valuable recycled material as inputs for remanufacture.”

However, that technology comes at a pretty steep cost, with Lasso Loop offering a limited number of preorders on Feb. 1 at $3,500, down from the retail price of $5,000. That’s a bigger investment than most washing machines, and while the conservation of the planet is a worthy cause, the price tag alone means the Lasso will find a limited audience. 

Lasso is planning to start a pilot program next year, with initial retail availability expected in 2024 for the Western US. 

For more from CES 2022, check out the new tech you’ll be able to buy this year, the latest plans for contactless shopping and the trends we’ll be talking about all year.

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