Who would have guessed that a store called the Nebraska Furniture Mart would be at the leading edge of consumer electronics life-cycle management? But it is. The store is hosting the first ecoATM machine, the brainchild of a San Diego startup that has found a way to make recycling consumer electronics easier—as well as valuable.
Mark Bowles founded ecoATM. With a background that includes seven years at Motorola and five venture-backed start-ups, Bowles found inspiration for the ecoATM from the 30-year-old bottle and can redemption infrastructure. Just as consumers can earn a refund for bottles and cans in many states, the ecoATM provides consumers with value—either through a direct payback or through store coupons—in exchange for used electronics. Consumers can also opt to put the monetary value of the devices they drop off toward a charity that the retailer suggests. The first ecoATM—a self-serve kiosk that retailers can host for free—came online at the Nebraska Furniture Mart on September 21. More retailers in Texas, Washington, Vermont, and San Diego also plan to install ecoATMs this year.Click to continue reading »