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If you’re anything like me, you’ve got an old cell phone or two laying around the house and you’re about dying to get rid of it.  But you’ve got no idea where or how to dump it.  We all know there are loads of hazardous material laws to grapple with, and those collection drives expect you to pay to dump your hardware.

Enter the EcoATM, a device the size of an actual ATM that’ll let you dump your hardware quick, easy, and sometimes, profitably.  Simply drop your old phone or other device into the EcoATM’s slot, and the machine will determine if it has any value.  The machine will then make you an offer for the device, which it will pay off from a separate slot, usually in the form of a gift card.

What if your device is worthless, you say?  Not a problem–there’s no such thing as a worthless device to the EcoATM.  Even if it has no residual value, you’ll still be able to leave the device with the EcoATM, but you’ll also get a “freebie item”, plus EcoATM will arrange for a tree to be planted in your honor somewhere, which still beats having to pay off the collection people all hollow.

EcoATM is actually doing pretty well so far–its first day in operation netted 23 phones and passed out a full hundred bucks in gift cards.  Word is it got a BlackBerry Curve in prime condition.  So chances are, this prototype will likely be coming to an electronics store near you.

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