Good idea: automated phone recycler that gives you store credit

While gadget recycling services like Gazelle are handy and more people should take advantage of them, this in-store “ecoATM” is perhaps an even better idea. You put your old phone in there, identify it, and it checks for signs of wear. You get a quote on the spot, redeemable in store credit or whatever — or if it’s not worth anything, you can have it safely recycled and they’ll plant a tree on your behalf.

The first ecoATM, installed in a furniture store in Omaha (???), appears to work fine, having bought over 20 phones on its first day. I imagine if they’d installed it at a Best Buy or in a mobile retail store, they might have gotten a bit more, but they consider it a success and that’s what matters. They’ll be rolling out more over the next few months — check back later to see if one’s coming up near you.