Even though many people are aware of the importance of recycling their mobile phones, it is reported that only about ten percent of used phones actually make it into a recycling program. Would people be more diligent with mobile phone recycling if it was not only convenient, but lucrative as well? An EcoATM machine currently being trialed in Nebraska, accepts your used mobile, scans it to assess its market value and rewards you with a retail coupon or gift card.
The e-cycling station in the Nebraska Furniture Mart, Omaha, is a self-service station that gives an on-the-spot electronic assessment of a used phone handset. If the phone has a real-time secondary market value, the consumer will receive an in-store payment in the form of a store gift card. The customer may also be offered the opportunity to donate the payment to charity. If the handset has no market value, the consumer still has the option to recycle the unit.
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"We are extremely pleased with the initial results and consumers' delight with the system," said Mark Bowles, CEO, ecoATM Inc. "ecoATM's solution finally makes it easy for consumers to give their used phones a second life or to recycle them," He added, "Our automated ecoATM provides consumers and retailers an easy, convenient, incentivized method to convert those devices into real money instead of toxic waste."
In the future, the EcoATMs are expected to accept all manner of devices, including mobile phones, MP3 players, notebooks, printers and digital cameras.
EcoATM is a San Diego-based start-up company. It plans to launch additional eCycling Stations with several more national retailers over the next quarter in San Diego, Boston, Dallas, and Seattle. In order to attract retailers, the company plans to offer the e-cycling stations for free and as the consumer is paid in in-store gift cards or reward dollars, the retailer will attract new customers with ready money.
It's difficult to imagine just how many used mobile phones could be found in an average household, so encouraging people to recycle their used handsets - even if you do have to pay them - is surely a step in the right direction.