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:
- You insert your old portable CE device or handset.
- The used device is given a value.
- And the portables are automatically binned inside. The user receives trade-up coupon, gift card, cash, and/or a charitable contribution.