Taking stock of your belongings, you will undoubtedly come across a hodge-podge of old or broken electronics that need to be recycled. Determining where or how to safely dispose of devices can take a substantial amount of research, and attempting to recover any sort of monetary investment can take weeks of maintaining a Cragislist ad. The ecoATM offers a quick and simple way to get some cash back for your defunct gadgets. Nominated for a 2013 Index Design Award, the kiosk can connect to your mobile device, search for the highest price on the global market, and compensate you if you agree to sell it. The ecoATM was recently nominated as a finalist for the world’s biggest design prize – the 2013 Index: Award.
The ecoATM maintains that no personal information will ever be accessed from your devices, and all data is encrypted to avoid fraud. One can imagine that an station offering money for electronics could be tempting for those of a criminal persuasion, but the ecoATM comes equipped with a number of anti-theft measures. Every transaction is monitored remotely by a staff member through a set of dual high-resolution cameras. A valid ID and and thumbprint are required to sell back each device, and the serial number is extracted when possible. The company holds each piece of inventory for 30 days before selling them to their buyers from their facility in San Diego, California. As a result of their precautions, only 1 in every 4,000 devices collected by ecoATMs have been reported lost or stolen.
The machine can identify several thousand different models of phone, tablet, or mp3 player, and the average seller receives about $25, although some can walk away with up to $300 for a good smartphone. About 75 percent of the phones are sold to refurbishers while the rest go to facilities certified by R2 Solutions or e-Stewards standards.
At present, there are 350 kiosks in 24 states, and the company has plans for international expansion as well as working on technology to accept larger items such as computers. The ecoATM website allows you to search for a location nearest to where you live and finally gives a valid reason to do a little technological tidying.