ecoATM: A Sustainable Way to Earn Instant Cash for Old Smartphones

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I’ll admit, I’m a little out of practice when it comes to small talk (thank you maternity leave, and quarantine).   Yet, when I found myself discussing my collection of unused cell phones in the middle of an Atlanta United MLS game, it wasn’t because of my out-of-practice social skills.  Rather, it was an example of a meeting of the minds.  The cool breeze from the retractable roof of Mercedes Benz Stadium, the sound of fan cheers for the home team, and the ambiance of the private suite created a perfect backdrop to enjoy meeting a curated and diverse group of guests of ecoATM, who invest in people, their communities, and the planet.  

ecoATM is a global smartphone and mobile device trade-in leader who is the official smartphone trade-in partner of Atlanta United.  During the final four home games of the season, one of which I was able to attend, fans were given the opportunity to donate used smartphones at designated stadium drop-off locations.  ecoATM then donated 40% of revenues from smartphones dropped off by Atlanta United fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to Cell Phones For Soldiers, a national nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services, devices, and emergency funding to active-duty military members and veterans. According to Chief Marketing Officer, Tony Rome, “Our partnership with Atlanta United and Cell Phones For Soldiers is a powerful way for fans to support our troops and move used devices from sitting in a drawer to powering new dreams. That’s sustainability in action.”

What makes ecoATM different from other trade-in options available is that they leverage technology to develop a safe and secure solution to help increase the recycling rate for electronic devices. While yes, there are other trade-in options on the market, some of which may even offer a higher payout, it is rare to find an option that gives you cash on the spot… hence the ATM part of their name.  

Are you looking to clean out your junk drawer? Do you have a device so old that you are unable to trade it in with your mobile carrier?  Is it important to you that your unused smartphone does not end up in a landfill?  Could you use cash in your hand today?  If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you should consider ecoATM as a safe and reliable option.

Before heading to one of the thousands of ecoATM kiosks across the country,  I recommend that you get a price estimate on their website or lock in your price offer on the ecoATM app.  That way, you know upfront how much cashback you should expect for each device you sell.  To get the actual price (and not an estimate), you will be asked to connect your phone to the kiosk so it can check the electronics while doing a visual evaluation. Once the evaluation is complete you will be offered a price. A popular and fully functional device will get a higher price than an older or damaged device but they also claim to pay the best prices they can for phones that are damaged or don’t work.  You then have the choice to accept or reject the offer.  If you accept the offer, you get paid…in CASH… on the spot.  That sounds like a good way to add a little extra to one of your sinking funds, don’t you think?

Meeting the team from ecoATM was such an eye-opening experience because the concept aligns with money and environmental sustainability values that I already invest time and energy into. According to the Pew Research Center, 91% of American adults own a cell phone, 55% own a smartphone, but only 20% of unwanted cell phones are recycled each year.  I am an avid recycler but I have never thought about how to responsibly get rid of unused devices.  Some of my devices are so old that having the opportunity to sell or recycle in a way that doesn’t further contribute to eWaste inspires me to take a “don’t trash it, cash it” approach to my debilitated smartphone collection.


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