EcoATM: A Kiosk To Take Your Hard-To-Recycle Throwaways

You know you’re supposed to do something more responsible with that cell phone or old laptop than just put it in the trash, but who has the time? Now you can just drop it off, let this new kiosk do the work, and get some cash back.

It may be the smartest kiosk you’ve ever met. Employing a scanner, camera, and artificial intelligence, the ecoATM can evaluate and buy-back used electronics directly from consumers and dispense cash or store credit.

These e-cycling stations let anyone trade in old devices, earning cash or credit. EcoATM says the service can electronically and visually inspect "virtually any consumer electronic device" from tablets to MP3 players then offer customers a real-time price based on the worldwide secondary market. If selecting store credit, customers can also do trade-ins with participating retailers.

"We find a second life for about 75 percent of the used devices we collect at the kiosks," Tom Tullie, CEO of ecoATM, told EarthTimes. "For the other 25 percent of devices that are truly at their end of life, we work with either R2-certified or BAN-certified recyclers who reclaim the raw materials and precious metals in an environmentally responsible way."

As the volume of e-waste rises--it’s already at 40 million tons annually worldwide--there is going to be a greater need to prevent this often toxic waste from reaching landfills. A local kiosk may be the answer. So far there are about 50 in grocery stores and malls in California, but the San Diego-based company hopes to roll out about 500 more by the end of 2012.

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