As Americans continue to upgrade to increasingly improving technology, many don't know what to do with devices that get left behind. Because these items are hazardous to the waste stream and cannot be thrown away, most of us are guilty of hoarding old phones, tablets, etc. that could be used for valuable recycled parts and materials.
Despite a 2006 law that requires cell phone retailers to provide recycling services for old phones, only 13% of phones are currently being recycled in California. A recent survey by ecoAtm found that this trend is more severe amongst younger device users.
New innovations from ecoAtm allow users to recycle old phones and recieve cash depending on the device's value. Their survery estimates that while 9 in 10 American device owners have unused and outdated items stored at home, only 10 percent have tried to redeem money for these items.
ecoAtm's environmental commitment begins with a "reuse" before "recycle" model by focusing on refurbishing the phones for reuse, and only recycling what can't be refurbished. These "reverse vending machines", by the same makers as "Coinstar", use artificial intelligence, electron diagnostics, and other evaluation techniques to determine the approximate cash value of the device, which is instantly given to the consumer.
Programs like ecoAtm help provide important incentives for consumers to protect our waste stream from hazardous materials and help California meet its high re-use and recycling goals.