Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Plenty of Ways to Discard Old Phones Options Include Trading, Selling and Donating

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Plenty of Ways to Discard Old Phones Options Include Trading, Selling and Donating

Article excerpt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Standing in a mall food court, Marcellus Lang slipped a used cell phone into an ecoATM kiosk. Instantly, the machine scanned his phone, assessing its condition. Separately, it also snapped his photo, scanned his driver's license and recorded his electronic fingerprint.

For Mr. Lang's old Evo phone, he was offered $4. Repeating the process with an iPod Touch, he landed a $55 offer. Without pausing, the 25-year-old punched in his acceptance.

Within minutes, the machine spit out $59 in cash.

For consumers, an ecoATM is just one of a growing number of options for getting rid of old digital devices.

With the average consumer getting a new smartphone every 18 months, Americans are sitting on an ever-growing heap of digital discards. And many of those abandoned phones -- by some estimates, 800 million in the United States alone -- still hold some value, either as recycled donations or cold, hard cash.

Here's a look at some of the options for trading, selling or recycling:

TRADE UP, TRADE-IN? Plenty of major retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart, will take your old cell phones -- and in some cases, computers, tablets, video game players and other devices -- and give you gift cards toward a store purchase.

With so many big-box retailers dangling trade-in incentives, "there's this great competitive environment that consumers can take advantage of," said Jeanette Pavini, consumer savings expert with Coupons.com, based in Mountain View, Calif.

Apple announced its own swapping program last month, letting consumers trade in their older iPhones for a discounted price on the new iPhone 5 models.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft also jumped into the trade-in game. Under two deals running through late October or early November, Microsoft will pay owners of "gently used" newer iPhones or iPads up to $200 -- to be used toward a new Windows phone or tablet. …

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