Eco electronic

Introducing the ecoATM, a first-of-its-kind consumer self-service kiosk for recycling electronics.

From the Series

We love our electronics but it’s always difficult when one’s cellphone comes to end of its life. The question is: What to do with old and broken electronics?

It is a particularly pertinent question when one considers that, according to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, only about 20% of the more than 384 million units of e-waste that is disposed in the US each year, is recycled.

Unwanted electronics tend to end in landfills, simply because we don’t know what to do with it.

Enter the ecoATM, an automated, consumer self-service kiosk that evaluates and buys back used consumer electronics directly from consumers for cash.

ecoATM is the brainchild of American entrepreneur Mark Bowles and the first company to have created an automated self-service kiosk for recycling consumer electronics, including mobile phones, computers, monitors and printers.

The ecoATM works in three easy steps:

STEP 1: Place your mobile device in the ecoATM test station.

STEP 2: The ecoATM will examine your device and then search for the highest price it can find in the worldwide market.

STEP 3: If you agree to sell it, you will receive cash on the spot. You can get your device back at anytime during the process up until you explicitly confirm the final sale and price. Your device will not be harmed in the process nor will any personal data on the device be accessed. 

An artificial intelligence system combined with robotic capabilities and electrical inspection allows the ecoATM to recognise 4 000 types of phones, MP3 players and tablets. The device is able to identify damage to the units and draws on an auction system, which is constantly updated worldwide, to offers consumers competitive prices for their devices, based on the model and the condition. The ecoATM is also thief-proof as it validates the user’s ID, asks for a thumbprint and takes the serial numbers from the devices. Additionally, each user is captured on camera and each transaction is monitored remotely by ecoATM  staff.

About 75% of the devices that the ecoATM collects is repurposed in a second life guise while the remaining 25% is recycled with the help of eWaste reclamation facilities, salvaging especially the precious materials in the devices. 

The ecoATM is a finalist in the Community category of the INDEX: Award 2013

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