By: Mia Sawaya
FORT COLLINS- Each year a plethora of new electronics are released and purchased. I recently got a new phone, but I wonder what happened to my old one. To find out more about e-waste and recycling options for devices, I contacted Chase Freeman, a representative for the companies ecoATM and Gazelle.com
To summarize, ecoATM is a company that collects used devices like mobile phones, MP3 players, tablets, and chargers in an ATM-like machine. These ATMs are electronically operated like a normal ATM, and they give you money for your used devices.
ecoATM started in 2008, and Chase mentions that a goal of the company is to reuse and resell devices to keep unnecessary materials out of landfills. He says that personal electronics contain toxic materials like arsenic, lead, and mercury which can end up in our air and soil if improperly disposed. If these chemicals enter our food chain through soil contamination, reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption, cancer, and other potential health issues can negatively affect our communities.
This is why ecoATM prides itself in having diverted 17 million devices from landfills. Chase explains that once a device is bought through an ecoATM, his company either extends the devices life by reselling it or responsibly recycling a broken device. The used devices are sold on Gazelle.com, while the broken devices are recycled by the EPA recognized R2 standards.
There are currently over 3,000 ecoATMs across the country, all of which are near large malls, retailers, or grocery stores. The ATM in Fort Collins is at the Walmart on East Magnolia Street as this location is common to locals. Chase explains that there are currently ecoATMs in 47 states, but the company is “always looking for new opportunities.”
“Shifting U.S. consumer behavior
away from ‘throw out’ to ‘trade-in’
is at the heart of what we do.”
He also explains the company is expanding their used electronics website, Gazelle, to the United Kingdom later this year. This means that when consumers recycle their old devices in an ecoATM kiosk or through Gazelle.com, and receive money for it, many consumers are able to lengthen the life of these devices by purchasing them online.
Selling used devices online is an option, but using an ecoATM ensures that if the device is not sold it will be responsibly recycled instead of inappropriately discarded. By allowing devices to reach their full potential before responsibly recycling them, ecoATM is reducing the amount of future mining required, landfill levels, and health issues caused by e-waste.
Check out ecoATM locations near you here.