Stop Drowning in eWaste. EcoATM To The Rescue!

Just look at this mountain of old, broken, and outdated electronics!

Can you relate to this mess? Recycle old cell phones!

Can you relate to this mess? Recycle old cell phones!

They are overtaking my drawers and closets and they’re spilling into the garage, too. We are drowning in eWaste!

Though most people know there are several ways to get cash for old devises — mailing them out or selling them at auction — it just seems we are reluctant to let go of these once-very-expensive electronics because we don’t know who is buying them or what they are doing with our old cell phones.

You should know that a San Diego company is attacking this used-electronics litter problem.

ecoATM is a San Diego-based company that recycles used phones and electronics for cash.  You’ll find kiosks at malls and grocery stores across the nation that make it easy for families to get rid of e-waste while making a little extra spending cash in the process.”

“Many of us have drawers of unused or old electronics at home, but often don’t know what to do with them. What many people don’t know is that these electronics often end up in landfills, adding huge amounts of toxic waste to our environment. ecoATM founders wanted to solve this problem while offering users an immediate award.  The process is quick, easy and pays out anywhere from $1 to $250 for all phones, no matter the condition.”

I got a personal demonstration on how to use the recycling kiosk from Alison Clancy, Community Manager at ecoATM in San Diego. Take a look at this video about how an ecoATM works!

ecoATM’s Directorof Marketing, Ryan Kuder, also answered a few questions I had regarding the cash-for-electronics exchange process.

  1. Are there limits to the quantity of phones you can trade in? No, there are no limits but each transaction typically takes 4-5 minutes.
  2. What to do with all the power cords? ecoATM accepts all chargers and other accessories (cases, etc) for recycling, but we can’t pay cash for them. There is an accessory bin on the side of the ecoATM and we make sure all accessories are recycled responsibly.
  3.  Is there a risk turning in a phone with the SIM card in it? If we receive a phone that has its SIM card still in it, we remove the SIM card and shred it. Your personal data is never downloaded or stored by ecoATM or any of our partners. Whether selling a device to ecoATM or anyone else, ecoATM encourages you to erase all personal data in advance. Consult the device’s manual or search the Internet to find out the best method for fully erasing your device’s memory.
  4. There are sites like Gazelle where you can mail in your phones. Why is ecoATM better? People love ecoATM because of how easy and instant it is. There are no delays or hassles with shipping and there’s never a regrading of your device for a lower price after you’ve sent it in. At ecoATM we believe the ability to recycle your electronics instantly, in a convenient location and for cash, is a great incentive to encourage more people to recycle their devices.
  5. Where are ecoATMs available in the United Sates?  There are nearly 550 ecoATMs located in 38 states. It is ecoATM’s grand ambition to be located within five miles or closer to 90 percent of the U.S. population to make e-recycling as convenient as possible. You can find the closest ecoATM to you at
  6.  What is the best practice to recycle a phone to get the best amount of cash for it? The value of a phone has a tendency to go down over time. And it makes sense–older phones are worth less. To maximize the value of your old device, you should look into upgrading it as soon as you have a replacement for it.
  7. What cannot be recycled in the ecoATM? We currently accept approximately 4,000 models of phones, MP3 players and tablets. We do not accept laptops, personal computers, televisions, DVD players, etc.
  8. What advice can you offer people to dispose of their phones, cords, and other electronics? ecoATM can recycle your phones for cash. Cords and other accessories can be recycled in the Accessory Bin on the side of each ecoATM. If you’re looking to recycle something that we can’t help you with yet, like a DVD player or a toaster, we recommend that you find a local certified eWaste recycler.

There are 14 ecoATM locations in San Diego including Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, UTC and North County Fair.

In today’s cash-strapped economy, I think that the hoarding of cell phones in homes happens because it’s hard to hand over an item that likely cost in the $100s for practically nothing.

I, like probably others, decided to keep the phones (still in a pile in the garage) instead of disposing of them for nothing  thinking I would rather give them to someone I know who can’t afford a new one.

Well, I have yet to meet this person. So, recycling cell phones at ecoATMs sounds like the ideal thing after all!


  1. I’m also drowning in eWaste. Never knew such a thing existed. You make me feel like purging all this junk in my closet….!!!

    • Suzette Valle says:

      Maggie, I know! I think most of us have a small fortune in cell phones in a box or closet and didn’t know it!

  2. Now I’ll know not to just donate my ewaste – afterall it was expensive to purchase so you’re right, we just hold onto it. I don’t really like the idea of someone else being able to recover what was on there either. Hopefully at some point they will also take computers because this one is getting sicker by the minute!

  3. Tabitha maddox says:

    Can you put a dvd player in the ecoatm

    • Suzette Valle says:

      No, you can’t. The last time I checked it was just cell phones. Check online for other EcoATM locations that might take other electronic devices!

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