ecoATM Buys Your Unused Electronics, Clears Drawers
Few things are sadder than staring at obsolete gadgets. These once-cherished, once-state-of-the-art, once-quite-expensive tech relics usually die slow deaths in drawers and closets across the nation.
ecoATM might have a solution. While it doesn’t solve the problem of planned obsolescence and designs that preclude upgrading perfectly usable gadgets, it does send your neglected gadgets to loving homes or to a proper burial.
ecoATM accepts phones, iPods and MP3 players. You hook them up to their ATM-like kiosk, where several diagnostic tests are performed to assess their value. Cash or credit is given on the spot (there are security features to prevent the sale of stolen or fraudulent goods). The company either sells your gadget on secondary markets or “responsibly recycles” them depending on their condition.
There are only 50 kiosks in the US right now, the bulk of which are in California, with some outliers in Seattle, Kansas and Nebraska. There is a corporate recycling program as well. But the company has attracted a number of powerful investors who surely recognize the value and vastness of used gadgets.
According to its site, making 1 phone results in more than 3 tons of mining waste, and the disposal of phones puts 75K tons of toxic materials like arsenic, cadmium and mercury into landfills annually. Accordingly, the company seems to recognize that reselling and properly disposing gadgets is just a beginning, saying on their site:
Solving the eWaste problem on a broad scale requires the collaboration of the OEM’s [original equipment manufacturers] that make the devices, the retailers that sell them, and the consumers that buy and retire them.
In other words, systemic change is what’s really needed: where manufacturers design products that have longer life-cycles; where retailers have business models that don’t thrive on constant upgrading; where consumers demand products that are well-designed and can be upgraded.
But until that time, ecoATM is a great option, clearing our drawers and closets, reducing the size and toxicity of our landfills, providing a return on our initial purchase and giving second lives for neglected gadgets.