If you’ve got a collection of old cell phones taking up space in your junk drawer, there’s never been a better time to get rid of them responsibly. A new automated kiosk from ecoATM not only allows you to recycle your old phones, it actually pays you to do it.
Simply insert your phone into the machine, which will electronically inspect it and assign a real-time secondary market value, and you’ll receive an in-store trade-up coupon or gift card in return. And even if your outdated cell isn’t worth cash, the machine will give you the option of donating it to be recycled or refurbished.
The first ecoATM kiosk debuted at Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha, and the company plans to install additional machines at various national retailers in San Diego, Boston, Dallas and Seattle in the next few months. A nationwide rollout is planned for the second quarter of 2010.
In the future, ecoATM kiosks will accept more than just phones. Consumers will be able to drop off other gadgets like MP3 players, digital cameras, laptop computers, printers and storage devices as well.
In the United States, about 70 percent of the heavy metals in landfills come from discarded electronics, and electronic waste is often exported to developing countries where it can cause serious health and environmental problems.
Mark Bowles, CEO of ecoATM Inc., told Hot Hardware that he believes the kiosks can be a great way to reduce the stress that e-waste places upon the environment, and benefit retailers as well.
“Over 100 million used, but still valuable, phones are quietly retired to closets and drawers each year in the U.S. where they decay into zero value and then enter our landfills years later,” he said.
“Our automated ecoATM provides consumers and retailers an easy, convenient, incentivized method to convert those devices into real money instead of toxic waste."