So there I was in the mall, more specifically at the food court. I wanted to pay cash for lunch, but when I opened my wallet a moth flew out. Enter the ecoATM. There under a light, right in the food court was an ATM promising cash for phones. I opened my purse, pulled out my old iphone with the cracked glass, engaged the ecoATM and walked away with $80 bucks cash!
Okay, so it didn’t happen quite like that, but it could have. In reality, there are old phones (and tablets and mp3 players) laying around most homes and offices in this country. And the truth is, we don’t quite know what to do with them. There’s a market for working models on eBay and there are programs that allow you to send your old phone to a soldier, but most of us are not putting these options to good use. What if your old equipment is broken? What if you want to recycle your old phone? Where do you go? How do you do it? Well here’s an option where you can recycle your unused device and get instant cash for at an ecoATM.
Here are the old phones we found in a desk drawer during a recent organizational frenzy. Too old to really be of use to anyone around here (although the one on the left could be used as a prop in an Historical Drama). You can’t just throw these things in the trash. Well you can, but it’s not the right thing to do. ecoATM pays you for your unwanted phones, tablets and mp3 players and responsibly recycles the raw materials inside, like copper and silver. This keeps this stuff out of our landfills and lets you buy lunch for your friends!
These ATMs are located in shopping malls and Walmarts nationwide. You can visit their website: ecoATM.com to find the location nearest you. We had 7 locations to choose from. We headed up to the Northridge mall and easily located the kiosk at one side of the food court and someone was using it! I was delighted because it gave me the opportunity to see how this thing worked before I tried it. I’m sure that nice family was a little disconcerted by my attention. Although I find it hard to believe they were afraid I would steal their fresh cash, I saw Identity Thief, so I guess you never know.
Here’s how the machine looked in person. There was a charging station to the left of the ATM where another young woman was juicing up her phone on her lunch break. The family in front of me ultimately decided not to part with their device for the price offered, but felt better informed about the value of their old phone. They just wanted to think about it some more before making their decision. For me, it was reassuring to see that, my phone would be returned if for some reason I didn’t want to go through with the transaction.
Now that it was my turn, the ecoATM requested my Driver’s License and asked me to remove my hat and sunglasses to confirm my identity. These are safeguards just in case you were thinking you might make some bank by selling stolen phones. The machine asks a few basic questions about your device and spits out a coded sticker for you adhere to your old phone. Then the fun part: the big silver door opens and you place your device inside, sticker side down on a surface that looks like a giant scanner.
The ATM sets out to id your old equipment and offers you cash. In my case, the Motorola Flip Phone wouldn’t bring any cash, but would earn a dollar for my choice of charity. The prehistoric Panasonic phone was too much of a dinosaur for the ecoATM to even recognize. So this wasn’t a big money maker for me, but the opportunity to responsibly recycle this household e-waste was most welcome. While some of you may be like me, with only ancient artifacts to offer, I’ll bet more of you modern Moms will find this a great alternative to letting unused cell phones accumulate in desk drawers for decades! You can feel good about yourself for doing the right thing for the environment and pick up a little green for being green.