(SIOUX CITY, IA) With cell phone technology constantly changing, trying to find a new home for your old phone and its toxic battery can be difficult.
But a new machine in the Southern Hills Mall can solve that problem. It takes about 10 minutes. but could produce cold hard cash.
The EcoATM takes your old phone and trades it for the green stuff in an environmentally friendly way.
"I'll be happy with like a dollar because it was just sitting in a drawer," says one customer who decided to trade in her old phones.
And in this case a $1 was all this customer got. We traded in two old phones and got $9. The Marketing Manager for EcoATM says the cash incentive was a way to help address a growing problem around the world.
"A founder Mark Bowles read a survey that said that only 3% of phones were being recycled in the world and he asked the question, Why? Why is that? And he thought, I don't know where to put my phones, everybody has a little drawer in their kitchen that's got 4, 5 or 6 old phones in it," says Ryan Kuder, the Marketing and Communications Director for EcoATM.
Kuder says the idea was to create an easy way to recycle them in a convenient place like the mall. EcoATM takes all kinds of phones, but before it gives you the cash, it asks for your fingerprint and a driver's license.
A quick way to document who the seller is - in case they're selling a stolen phone.
"We've built the ecoATM so it acts both as a deterrent to help prevent cell phone theft in the first place, and in the rare event that it does happen, that we can we as helpful to the local police as possible."
A feature many customers are happy about.
"If I had my phone stolen, I'd like to know where it is. If they were able to track it that would make my day," says another customer who was trading in her phones.
Another helpful tip: erase your phone completely before recycling it by simply going to your settings and performing a factory reset. This way if anyone gets your recycled phone, they don't have access to your contacts or personal information.
For more information you can visit the EcoATM website at: http://www.ecoatm.com/