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Flip phones save the world--Scientists & Engineers on Sofas (and other furnishings)


EcoATM founder Mark Bowles talks about the high-tech tools needed to turn flip phones and old electronics into a successful commercial enterprise that helps save the environment.

Sarah Bates from the National Science Foundation sat down with Mark to discuss ecoATM and its rise from an idea in a coffee shop into a multimillion-dollar business.

EcoATM runs kiosks placed all around the United States where people can turn in their unwanted electronics for cash. EcoATM accepts everything from old, useless flip phones to cracked or new smart phones.

EcoATM is addressing a major ecological concern with their business model though. When flip phones are discarded in the trash, they break down (over hundreds of years) and release their toxic insides into the water table. But by recycling unwanted cell phones, ecoATM is able to cut down on the creation of new phones. Instead of people purchasing and consuming endless numbers of new phones, ecoATM stops the whole process by allowing people to buy used or refurbished phones. On top of that, ecoATM is able to reclaim metal from old flip phones and smart phones, which stops having to mine that from the ground.

To learn more about this innovative business, watch now!

Credit: National Science Foundation

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