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A new system developed by an Australian company may hold the solution for closing the loop on recyclables in the food and hospitality sector. When it comes to recycling, current systems are falling short. Huge amounts of plastic, glass and metals still end up in the landfill and our oceans or are downcycled to the dead-end and lower-value products such as road base or carpet backing. From medical, hospitality sector and household output, the market demand for meaningful recycling systems is growing. We want to highlight the fact that used material has value, and maximising closed-loop recycling will not just benefit the environment but help us move toward a circular economy.
Imagine a world where your fast food containers and plastic bottles can be miraculously transformed into a new vase, a skateboard or a work of art – in your own home.
At a time when we are sinking under mountains of unused recycling and our oceans are choking with plastic, turning discarded containers into a new and useful product is not far off.
3D printing technology already exists, and now a machine is being created to produce recycled materials of such purity that they could be remanufactured into new products without ever leaving the house.
Lasso Recycling (previously called ReCircle as the brand has recently launched a rebranding campaign) is creating the first-ever domestic recycling machine that will process glass, plastics and aluminium in the home. It guarantees to produce materials to such high standards they can be closed-loop recycled. Bottles can be made back into bottles, rather than being ‘downcycled’ into things like road base.
“Currently less than half of what you put into your recycling bin is used to make new products — and of that, only a tiny fraction is closed-loop recycled,” says Lasso inventor and CEO, Aldous Hicks.
“The problem is that once we mix our recycling together it’s too expensive to separate – so even leaving the ring on a water bottle means you have two types of plastic mixed together which must be separated to be pure enough to make back into a bottle.”
Read here the full interview of the founder and inventor of this zero-waste recycling system. A new era of a closed-loop circular economy is here!
The Lasso technology means all materials are kept separate from the start – green glass is separate from clear glass, PET plastic is kept separate from HDPE plastic, and so forth. This makes both PET and HDPE more valuable to manufacturers and means we will not need to use more virgin oil and gas to make the one million bottles the world currently demands every minute.
Sensors on the Lasso machine will identify which containers can be processed. Like a domestic dishwasher, the Lasso appliance will wash the materials, which will then be processed – different coloured glass will be ground into cullet, HDPE and PET plastics will be separately flaked, and aluminium will be compacted.
These ReProducts will be stored in the machine for curbside collection when individual containers are full. The processed material will be picked up by dedicated trucks and taken directly to the re-manufacturers to be closed-loop recycled into new containers.
Keeping the material streams separate will add enormous value to the end products, which Aldous says will eventually allow Lasso owners to earn money for their recycling.
The quality of the ReProducts will be so high that a Lasso machine could conceivably be hooked up to a 3D printer to create new products on the spot. The printer would pull the plastics from the Lasso, melt it down and pour onto a disk where each layer would be allowed to cool before another being poured on top.
“It is entirely possible we could link our technology to a 3D printer so people could recycle their single-use plastics to create new, useful products without even leaving the home,” Hicks says.
“That will be fun, but the real value to us and to the planet will be that the ReProducts can be taken directly to re-manufacturers to be closed loop recycled – which will be a much more efficient and carbon-neutral process than using virgin materials. And it means we can really say we are part of the circular economy!” says Aldous.
Support Lasso to close the loop on their equity crowdfunding Campaign live now at CrowdCube. This Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns sell equity or shares in private companies and you become a shareholder, not simply a donor. You can find information on that over at CrowdCube, the platform we’re using for this funding round. Investments big and small are welcome!
ALISON RICHARDSON, CO-FOUNDER
Alison holds a Masters of Health Sciences and is passionate about the world of recycling. A former teacher, journalist and sexual health counsellor, she now dedicates her skills and energies to the ReCircle Recycling concept and developing the circular economy. She travels back and forth between Australia and the UK promoting awareness, raising funds, and ensuring that ReCircle is at the forefront of industry developments.
ALDOUS HICKS, CEO & CO-FOUNDER
Aldous Hicks is Co-founder and CEO of ReCircle Recycling Ltd. Aldous has over 30 years’ business experience as a technology and software developer, project manager and mechanical engineer, including developing water- and material-recycling technology. He developed the SOHO custom PC database software, and prior to that worked with Mannesmann Demag AG, a German multinational mechanical heavy engineering company. Aldous has now turned his attention and expertise to the recycling economy, founding ReCircle to create a solution that will empower consumers while reversing the current recycling system, which is unsustainable and inefficient.
Read about One year. 4,490 plastic items. A bold experiment uncovering the recycling smokescreen. Everyday Plastic: What’s our individual impact on plastic pollution and the raw truth behind recycling!
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