Approximately 75 percent of all retired cell phones are languishing in sock drawers because it’s too much trouble to dispose of them properly. A startup called ecoATM hopes to change that with a new service.
The kiosks automate the trade-in and buy-back process for mobile phones and other used consumer electronics, electronically and visually inspecting devices, administering promotions, and providing real-time incentives. By finally making the resell/recycle process convenient and profitable for all stakeholders (Consumers, OEMs, and Retailers) ecoATM will dramatically increase participation in environmentally responsible recycling and the flow of used goods into secondary markets that need them.
Plug your used mobile into an ecoATM and the machine assesses the resale value, collects the device, and spits out store credit, a gift card, or a charity donation. Battered old clunkers earn a few bucks; more recent flip phones in good condition are worth around $30; and a touchscreen smartphone like the Droid or iPhone can get you more than $150. “Two-thirds of the phones we collect are sold to domestic resellers and specialty refurbishers,” sayscompany founder Mark Bowles. Phones with no resale value are shipped to a reputable metals reclamation facility in Belgium.
There are eight kiosks operating in malls and stores nationwide, and the company hopes to add 50 more by the end of the year. Dollars dispensed by ecoATMs thus far? Half a million and counting.
At no cost to the retailer, ecoATM provides self-serve electronic eCycling stations which quickly inspects and assigns real-time secondary market value, collects/bins portable devices, provides payment to the consumer, and administrates any additional trade-in promotions / discounts loaded by the OEM and/or retailer.