This month, there was big news in Bellevue as the Washington-state based company Outerwall Inc. hit the 4 million devices threshold for their ecoATMs. These electronics-recycling kiosks can take just about anything, your old cell phones, MP3 players, tablet devices, and more. These locations are all over the country, housed in malls and department stores in 42 states. Outerwall currently has 1,890 kiosks across the United States.
This milestone is great for the company, but this comes on the heels of recycling 3 million electronic devices as recently as last September. These ecoATMs are currently surpassing their online counterparts by their well-placed locations and ability to give people cash right there at the machine. This is something that most people, especially the younger generation, can really get behind. Typically, when you are trading in your old cell phone or music player, you first place a request online, then wait for an envelope, then ship the device back to the company, and finally, you receive a check in the mail. The ecoATMs have an approach that is like night and day in terms of easy-of-use. The hope is that it will start getting people to be more proactive when it comes to responsibly handling their electronic waste, a form of refuse that is tricky to get rid of safely.
Surprisingly, for a company that is based in Bellevue (in the Seattle area), the bulk of their ecoATMs are located in the states of Texas, Ohio and California. With over 1,000 new kiosks added last year, however, we don’t expect those three states to be the clear frontrunners for very long. Outerwall more than doubled their ecoATMs in a year, and they can probably do that again in 2015. We’ll keep this story in our sights and get back to you with any big information that comes across our desks.
With phone carriers switching to shorter plans, going the route of the customer paying for the phone outright instead of paying for a contract, you can expect machines like these ecoATMs will take off even more than they already have. Most cell-phone providers have moved from a 24-month cycle down to an 18-month cycle when it comes to getting a new upgrade. Some even allow you to upgrade whenever you want if you have paid off your phone already.
Keeping Electronics Out of the Trash
Keeping e-waste out of the trash, whether that’s across the country or out of Seattle-area dumpsters, is great news. These devices are not as easily disposed of as other forms of refuse. This is especially true for waste that may be more natural or that already has established recycling practices in place for it. As our planet is creating more waste and more varied types of it every day, the responsibility is on us to make sure that we are getting rid of that refuse in a manner that is safe and sustainable.