The debut of the iPhone 5 seems to have dredged up all sorts of commentary on e-waste and our obsession with the latest and greatest gadgets. While those in the electronics recycling business rejoice that millions of unwanted phones will soon be headed their way, we’re a little skeptical about where that waste will actually end up. If you’re going to replace your smartphone or other mobile device, it’s important to dispose of it properly, which means recycling or selling it to a buyback program. In some cases, your working smartphone, GPS, or laptop could be worth more than a little bit of cash.
To make it easier to keep these phone out of the landfill, EarthTechling reviewed some of the most socially and environmentally responsible recycling programs, many of whom offer money in exchange for your old hardware. Unfortunately, these programs all follow the same protocol: get a quote, ship your phone, wait for the check. ecoATM, an award-winning start up out of San Diego, thinks it can eliminate the wait, providing instant cash in exchange for your unwanted electronics.
The ecoATM is an automated, consumer self-serve kiosk that quickly evaluates and buys back used consumer electronics directly from consumers for cash. In about the same time it would take you to withdraw cash from a regular ATM, the ecoATM evaluates your mobile device, provides a quote for its cash value, and dispenses the cash on the spot, should you accept.
With the influx of used phones expected to hit the market as consumers adopt the iPhone 5, the company recently announced [Doc] that it is rapidly expanding into malls nationwide and is currently installing kiosks along the east coast. By the end of the year, ecoATM will have installed about 300 kiosks nationally.
“There are many attractive buyback options emerging today that allow consumers to get value for their old electronics. Of these, ecoATM’s system is currently the only one that provides immediate monetary incentive,” said Kate Pearce, Research Strategist and Consultant, Compass Intelligence. “In addition, ecoATM’s kiosks currently offer buyback on a fairly broad range of mobile phones while some of the other buyback options may be more selective in what they will buy.” The company claims that it is able to find a second home for 75 percent of the devices it collects and responsibly recycles the rest.