Business planning

Consumers trade old mobile phones for cash using ecoATM

Michelle Hammond /

start-up-idea-ecoatmA new recycling “ATM” will take an old mobile phone and pay an agreed price on the spot, taking the concept of bartering to a new level.

 

However, the ATM can tell if a screen is cracked or chipped, and it becomes “smarter” over time based on previous transactions.

 

US firm ecoATM is rolling them out with backing from the country’s National Science Foundation. Users can receive cash or donate to one of several charities.

 

The ecoATM finds second homes for 75% of phones.

 

“The basic technologies of machine vision, artificial intelligence and robotics that we use have existed for many years, but none have been applied to the particular problem of consumer recycling,” co-founder Mark Bowles says.

 

“But we’ve done much more than just apply existing technology to an old problem.”

 

“We developed significant innovations for each of those basic elements to make the system commercially viable.”

 

More than 300 kiosks are hoped to be rolled out across the US by the end of the year. Given consumers’ increasing propensity to recycle, why not introduce something similar in Australia?

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