Kiosk manufacturer, Coinstar, has backed a new eco-friendly venture called ecoATM which provides the convenience and incentives necessary to increase e-waste recycling. In the first round of funding, ecoATM has already raised 14.4 million dollars, making it very likely that the handful of kiosks that exist today will expand throughout California in the near future.
According to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, 15.3 million cell phones were sold in California. At a cell phone recycling rate of 27%, that leaves 11.2 million cell phones which were landfilled or discarded improperly. Although California's recycling rate for e-waste, and cell phones in particular, is much higher than the rest of the nation, an average of 515,000 tons of e-waste is sent to the landfills annually in the state. Innovations such as these kiosks have the potential to help keep toxic substances out of landfills and natural environments, a main objective of CAW. To read more about electronics in the waste stream, as well as what CAW has done to promote e-waste recycling, click here.
The ecoATMs collect a variety of small consumer electronics including, but not limited to: cell phones, mp3 players, cameras, and their respective batteries and chargers. After plugging into the device, the ecoATM scans the gadget for malfunctions and does a visual inspection to determine a price for the product. The consumer can then cash out, or donate the money to charity, and the product is sent to a recycling center.
Currently, only a few locations exist, many which reside in Southern California. A complete list of their locations can be found on their website.
To watch how ecoATMs work, view the video here.