What if you could recycle an old cell phone and receive a gift card in one step, without talking to anyone, paying fees or dealing with shipping?
That’s the concept behind the ecoATM™, a machine that is being tested at the Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha. It was installed last month, and although it currently only accepts cell phones, the company says it will soon be able to collect other portable electronics for recycling.
The ecoATM machines avoid the delay for payment, as well as any hassle involved with shipping. They are currently being marketed to retailers, with the ability to tie into rewards programs and provide gift cards catered to that retailer.
Because electronics contain valuable metals and reusable plastic, there is a market for businesses that specialize in electronics recycling.
Trade-in programs have grown in popularity among U.S. retailers, including RadioShack and Office Depot. These programs allow consumers to visit a Web site and select what they have, evaluate the condition to determine a trade-in value and then ship the devices off for recycling. Upon receipt of the devices, consumers are then mailed a gift card or other form of payment.
“We are extremely pleased with the initial results and consumers’ delight with the system,” said Mark Bowles, CEO of ecoATM, Inc. “Our automated ecoATM provides consumers and retailers an easy, convenient, incentivized method to convert those devices into real money instead of toxic waste.”
According to its Web site, ecoATM will eventually accept cell phones, mp3 players, video game systems and software, laptops and printers, digital cameras, LCD monitors, GPS units and more for recycling.