Recycling your old cellphones properly can have a major impact on the environment, and with the use of some special kiosks right here in St. Joseph, it’s never been easier. EcoATM Gazelle uses kiosks to make the selling process quick and simple. After inserting your phone into the device, it is then evaluated.
“And then what we have is sensors that scan that device that you just put into kiosk to determine the make, the model, the condition,” Chase Freeman, a spokesperson for EcoATM Gazelle says. “And once it’s finished with that investigation, it will make an offer to the customer. And at that time, you have the option to accept or decline.”
The kiosk requires users to have a government-issued I.D. and has cameras that capture the customer’s photo to verify their identity. The company takes security very seriously, Freeman says. It also takes the health of the environment seriously as well, for as widespread as cellphone usage is, the devices can be dangerous if not disposed of properly.
“Almost all consumer electronics — mobile phones, computers, monitors, printers, etcetera — contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury, arsenic and other materials that would pose a threat to the environment and our health,” Freeman says. “So the first and best thing we can do is to really extend the life of existing devices as long as possible so that there is no need to even build new ones and put those toxic materials into the planet or landfills.”
With phone companies coming out with new models every year, EcoATM Gazelle wants to help people recycle their phones properly. In fact, many of the phones they receive are still fairly new. “Say you trade in that iPhone that you’ve only used for 12 or 18 months. That phone is definitely not at the end of its life,” Freeman says. “So we’re going to ensure that it’s in great condition and we’re going to sell it to consumers at a discounted price.”
That’s where the company’s website comes in, allowing people to buy some of the phones that the company has obtained through kiosks or an online service. EcoATM Gazelle has an R2 certification, which, according to Sustainable Electronics Recycling International’s website, is “the premier global environmental, worker health and safety standard for the electronics refurbishing and recycling industry.” So when devices truly are at the end of their life, the company sends them off to be recycled in ways that won’t be detrimental to the environment.
“These responsible recycling plants —where those devices that aren’t going to be sold on Gazelle or sold to our wholesalers — they go there to ensure that the toxic materials aren’t admitted right into the environment and cause any health issues for Americans,” Freeman says.
EcoATM Gazelle has three kiosks in the area, one at the East Hills Shopping Center and one at both the North and South Belt Highway Walmarts. People also can recycle old phones through the company’s website, www.ecoatm.com. EcoATM Gazelle is hoping to reach 3,000 kiosks in the United States by 2018.