Electronic waste has been gathering more attention lately, and it should:  as we use more cheap electronics, the resulting waste ends up becoming a toxic nightmare.  But these devices are not easy to recycle.  Most e-waste drop off spots are inconveniently located, and most consumers do not want to the hassle of mailing off their old MP3 players or cell phones.  Then there is the question of where these materials end up:  most likely, in some third world country where they are disassembled, or shredded, in horrific conditions.

Based in San Diego, ecoATM thinks it may have a solution.  Currently eleven of its kiosks are scattered across the United States.  They hope to have about 150 machines operating by the end of 2010, and 700 next year.

They work relatively simply:
  1. You insert your old portable CE device or handset.
  2. The used device is given a value.
  3. And the portables are automatically binned inside. The user receives trade-up coupon, gift card, cash, and/or a charitable contribution.
So far the pilot program has found success.  Unlike those Coinstar kiosks you see in supermarkets, ecoATM does not ask you to pay for dumping your old products.

Most importantly, the entire process is audited and vetted in supporting the best possible environmental standards.  The company ensures that their goods are not dumped in third world countries, and that their vendors are following the strictest recycling standards.

The company has been successful in raising venture capital, and ranked highly in Green:Net 2010’s Launchpad yesterday in San Francisco.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.