Press Kit

Younger U.S. Mobile Device Owners Hoard Old Smart Phones and Tablets, ecoATM® Survey Finds
Nearly nine in 10 American device owners have outdated and unused items at home, but 10 percent or less have tried to earn money from old devices

San Diego, Calif., May 21, 2014 – Although most Americans know that a variety of items around the house, like clothes and jewelry, can quickly translate into cash, many don’t realize they’re wasting space and leaving money on the table by hoarding their old electronic devices. According to survey results released today by ecoATM®, the nationwide network of automated electronics recycling kiosks, the worst offenders may in fact be younger device owners (18-49 years old), who are more likely than their older counterparts (those over age 50) to be guilty of stockpiling obsolete smartphones (25 percent versus 9 percent) and tablets (13 percent versus 5 percent).

More importantly, the survey revealed that users of all ages hold on to their old gadgets, while less than half of device owners know that items like smartphones (45 percent), cell phones (44 percent) and MP3 players (34 percent) can translate into a profit. Even fewer have actually sold their outdated tablets (10 percent), cell phones (9 percent) and MP3 players (7 percent), while only 24 percent have tried recycling their unused small electronics. Commonly, users simply store old devices around the house once they upgrade to new models. Instead of being recycled or cashed in, gadgets are left to clutter the house, with the most popular locations being closets (53 percent), boxes (42 percent) and junk drawers (41 percent).

“We know that Americans believe in the value of recycling, but there’s a disconnect between believing and doing, as many don’t know where to recycle their old cell phones and tablets,” said Mark Bowles, founder and chief marketing officer of ecoATM. “Recycling with ecoATM is a great way to ensure that your retired device does the most good for you and the environment.”

While it’s well known that device owners replace their mobile phones frequently, they also seem to get attached to old gadgets. When asked why people are hanging on to old devices, many point to sentimental reasons – in fact, far more feel nostalgic (37 percent) than overwhelmed (23 percent) or embarrassed (15 percent) by the outdated items collecting dust at home. Again, it’s the same younger group of device owners that feels most attached to their older gadgets with 42 percent stating that they associate feelings of nostalgia with these devices (versus 29 percent of those over 50).

Additional highlights of ecoATM’s consumer survey include:

• Nearly nine in 10 American device owners have outdated and unused items lying around their homes, ranging from shoes (64 percent) and clothing (57 percent) to devices that are far less popular today, like cell phones (57 percent) and VCRs (48 percent).
• According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, mobile phones are usually replaced every 18 months, yet nearly two in three (66 percent) men believe that their current wallet will outlast their smartphone and more than half of women (53 percent) believe their current purse will last longer than their smartphones.
• Although users upgrade often, many hold on to their old devices for years after they’re no longer used. Almost one in five (18 percent) admit that the oldest device they still have has been around longer than a wide variety of items that tend to last awhile, including their oldest kitchen appliance, pair of curtains or set of bed sheets. Interestingly, a very small minority (6 percent) report that the oldest condiment they have in their fridge has been around longer than their most ancient device!
• Device owners ages 18 to 49 are more likely than older users to believe that it’s possible to get cash for used gadgets, while parents are more likely than non parents (91 percent vs. 76 percent) to believe that people can profit from unused items around the house.
• More than one in four users have left behind obsolete cell phones (52 percent), mp3 players (35 percent), smartphones (27 percent) and tablets (20 percent) in a drawer or closet to be forgotten.
• Unfortunately, more than one in 10 device owners (12 percent) incorrectly believe that placing old devices in any recycling bin is a viable option for disposal, and 12 percent would consider throwing an old gadget in the garbage after upgrading, contributing toxic e-waste to landfills.

Recycle Responsibly with ecoATM

ecoATM’s approximately 900 kiosks, which are located in shopping malls and select retailers nationwide, recycle consumer electronics – including mobile phones, tablets and MP3 players – to keep them out of landfills or from languishing in desk drawers, and provide instant cash payments as an incentive to recycle.

ecoATM kiosks accept devices of any era or condition and use a worldwide auction system to offer consumers competitive prices depending upon condition, which can include a few hundred dollars for newer smartphones. Some very old phones may not be worth anything, but with ecoATM, consumers can rest assured knowing that they will be responsibly recycled. ecoATM is able to find a second life for 75 percent of devices collected. For the remaining 25 percent, ecoATM partners with certified e-waste reclamation facilities to ensure those materials are responsibly reused and recycled.

For additional survey findings or to request high-resolution images or b-roll of ecoATM kiosks, please contact To learn more about ecoATM or to find a kiosk, visit

*Methodology Note: The ecoATM Device Survey was conducted by Kelton Research between March 10 and March 17, 2014, and polled 1,018 nationally representative Americans aged 18 and older who own a smartphone, cell phone, MP3 player or tablet.

About ecoATM

ecoATM, is the first company to create an automated self-serve kiosk system to buy back old phones, tablets or MP3 players for cash. ecoATM uses patented, advanced machine vision, electronic diagnostics, and artificial intelligence to evaluate electronics. ecoATM’s eCycling stations provide a convenient trade-in solution with features that validate sellers’ identities and deter the sale of stolen phones, and the company collaborates with national, state, and local law-enforcement groups in combating mobile phone theft through innovative use of technology and education  (

ecoATM holds Responsible Recycling (R2) and ISO14001 certification, confirming the company’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of electronics recycling, as well as ISO27001 certification for information and personal data security. See for a video of how an ecoATM kiosk works.


Amy Rice
(858) 766-7370