Turn Bricks into Bucks

Illustration: Rafael Macho for Wired

Considering our assignment for Research Methods covers recycling, I though this article in Wired was perfectly timed. A company called ecoATM has applied the ubiquitous Redbox/Coinstar presence of a box in every grocery store into recycling old mobile phones. I’ve noticed other retailers with mobile phone donation centers (Target, Best Buy) but this model may succeed where the donation kiosks failed – with the intrinsic motivation of money. That’s right, our disposition to consume more stuff (or just trying to salvage every last dollar from less fashionable/functional doo-dads) can make the ecoATM model succeed. I am also pleased to know that you can donate the value as a charitable contribution and the batteries will not find themselves in a landfill. No haggle swaps of junk for cash is tapping into consumers’ need for value with automated (and disguised) altruism.