It all began in Steve Nazarian's Penfield kitchen. "About 7 years ago when the oldest of my 4 kids started preschool, a notice came home saying we want you to collect soup can labels," he says. "So, we grabbed whatever we could, scissors, knife, whatever, and realized that not only is it difficult to remove the label, it was dangerous. We'd stab ourselves in the thumb or dull an expensive knife."
That's when the idea for a The Label Popper was born. He wanted to come up with a safe way to remove the labels. After several different designs, he found a winner.
Nazarian says, "you pick up the can, squeeze the label a little bit so you get a pucker. Slide the label popper up underneath and you twist."
What he didn't realize at the time, was the environmental impact this device could have.
"It's a huge opportunity for every American home to do a little bit more to recycle more paper with just a little bit of effort."
Most recycling agencies don't ask people to remove the labels, because many people won't take the time to do it.
"The cans get crushed into big blocks and they get sent out to big steel mills where they get melted down. Once they get crushed you can't get the label off anymore. They get sent into these big furnaces and they are burned up."
If the labels are removed, they can be recycled. Americans use about 30 billion steel cans a year. The labels from those cans add up to about 121 million pounds of waste a year. Nazarian says that would be enough paper to make a path of 500 sheet reams of office paper from Seattle to Miami.
All of the pieces of the label popper are made by companies in our area.
The popper retails for 10 dollars a piece. Nazarian's company Three Quarter Innovations is working on some other ideas too. But right now, they are top secret.
For more information on how to get the label popper, go to this website. http://www.labelpopper.com