Recycling is often something of a chore, even when it involves something as infrequently recycled as small electronics. We have tried recycling end-of-life electronics at a well known retailer and found that you have to wait for a cashier then fill out and sign a form before leaving the material at the customer service desk. What a chore!.
We are therefore very encouraged by a California-based company that has introduced a technology that makes e-waste recycling both fun and rewarding. Both the company and the technology are called ecoATM and the technology does bear some resemblance to a banking automated teller machine. You insert your end-of-life cell phone or mp3 player into the ecoATM, wait a few seconds, and agree, or not agree, to the offered price. If you like the price the machine takes your device and gives you the money. If you don’t like the price the machine gives you your technology back. Now that sounds like recycling fun!
You do have to proffer your driver’s license and thumb print. The Company says that this is to help avoid fencing of stolen items, and the process does take a short while but at least there is a good chance you will get paid for your effort. ecoATM states that working smartphones can lead to payments of as much as $250 but even old broken phones will reward their owners with a few dollars. The technology is an interesting combination of electronic testing of the item in the ATM-like device and remotely-located human oversight of every transaction.
ecoATM states that there are currently more than 150 of these e-waste recycling devices in use across the US, mostly in malls and retail outlets. GallonDaily has not yet had a chance to test the system, and we know nothing of the economics, but it appears to us to be a positive concept for the future of recycling.
Lots of information, including pictures of the machine and descriptions of the technology, at http://www.ecoatm.com/