Images courtesy of ecoATM and AMagill via Flickr CC
Could gadget recycling get easier than this? In a similar vein as ATM-like change machines, where you bring your bucket-o-coins, dump them in and out pops a far more convenient currency, EcoATM wants to buy back your old cell phones with this cool kiosk. Insert cell phone, withdraw currency. EcoATM has set up a kiosk at the Nebraska Furniture Mart, where visitors can drop off a cell phone and instantly get store credit or a gift card. EcoATM wants this to be a regular feature in stores all over the place, encouraging people to recycle their mobile devices thanks to sheer ease. No printing free shipping labels to mail off devices to recyclers (though that is darn near equally easy), or clicking through buy back websites to find out the trade-in value (um..also very easy, but still...). You just would head down to a favorite store, drop off the phone, and start shopping.
CNET reports, "The 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 EcoATM has proven itself very successful, collecting 23 phones on day one alone. That success will spread as the company installs machines at wireless stores and big-box retailers in San Diego, Texas, Washington state, and Vermont this year. They also plan an even bigger roll-out in the middle of next year. It's a no-brainer for the retail stores, as they get the machines for free, plus get that much more help complying with municipal e-waste laws. Machines will be upgraded eventually to expand to gadgets beyond cell phones, bringing the gadget buy-back experience offline and in more people's sphere of thought.
Hopefully, putting machines like this front and center will increase the numbers of devices that stay within the consumer stream, rather than get directed towards landfills. However, as noted, some phones will go straight to recycling, so ensuring that they're properly recycled and not sent to e-waste dumps is a definite concern. Despite good intentions by some in the recycling stream, gadgets don't always find a happy recycled ending.
More on Better Cell Phone Recycling
Meet Your New E-Waste Recycling Symbol: "4th Bin" Winners Announced
The Nitty Gritty on e-Cycling: Buy-Back, Take-Back, and Recycling Programs
NextWorth Expands BuyBack Service to More Gadgets