Technology advances so quickly that even if our cell phone or laptop is in perfectly good working condition, many of us upgrade to have a better camera, faster processing power, better graphics etc. Or, we jump to a different manufacturer when a new product comes out that really gets our attention. What do you do with all those “outdated” cell phones and laptops? If you’re like many Americans, they sit in a closet or an old electronics graveyard set up somewhere in the house. That may be better than throwing them away, where they would end up in a landfill leaking toxic chemicals, but they are taking up space and are of no use from a productivity or financial perspective. A San Diego start-up called ecoATM thinks it has a solution that is both environmentally friendly and convenient, while giving consumers a little incentive to recycle. According to CNET:
“Their self-serve e-cycling station electronically inspects phones, assigns them real-time secondary market value, and provides in-store payment–if the handset still has any monetary worth. If not, consumers can choose to assign the device to the recycle bin, and then it’s on its way to getting recycled or refurbished.”
The company’s website makes it sound simple enough:
The ecoATM – Easy as 1, 2, 3:
Step 1) Insert portable CE (consumer electronic) device or handset
Step 2) Used device is automatically evaluated and valued
Step 3) Portables are automatically binned inside. User receives trade-up coupon, gift card, and/or charitable contribution
The company currently has a trial e-cycling station set up in a store in Omaha, NE. However, “the company plans to install kiosks at wireless stores and big-box retailers in San Diego, Texas, Washington state, and Vermont” soon with a bigger roll out scheduled for early next year. While the EcoATMs only take cell phones at the moment, eventually they should be able to recognize other gadgets such as MP3 players, digital cameras, notebooks, printers, and storage devices.
The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that 100 million cell phones are thrown out every year in the U.S. alone. Make it convenient and attractive to properly dispose of them and more and more should end up being recycled or refurbished. So grab your old LG, iPhone, and Samsung phones and help eliminate e-waste by properly disposing them in an environmentally friendly way.
Image Credit: http://www.ecoatm.com/eco-atm.htm