Friday, July 25, 2008

Reuse: Sell the Cell (and GPS, and camcorder, and mp3 player, and ....)

How many old cell phones have you thrown out over the years? Or if you are an eco pack rat like us; how many do you have sitting in the 'old phone' box? Are there old game consoles, mp3 players, camcorders, or other electronic gadgets cluttering the shelves gathering dust? If so, put the junk to good use, and perhaps make a couple of bucks with a service that buys back old used electronics.

When it came time for one of us here at Chicago Energy Consultants to select a shiny, new phone at the local cellular store, we almost forgot about about our old cell phone. We also almost forgot that cell phones use many exotic or expensive minerals (like tantalum and gold) that are mined at sometimes horrible ecological, and human cost. So lets keep those old phones out of the trash and put them back into the hands of reusers or recyclers.

After shopping around for the best buy back price, and researching reviews of the services, we decided to try out Second Rotation.. The process to sell the old phone with Second Rotation was pretty painless, after selecting the type of phone to sell and specifying its condition, a price was offered (and is contingent on inspection of the phone). After accepting the offer, I filled out the contact information and printed the shipping kit, which includes a pre-paid shipping label.

Perhaps my favorite feature of their service was the 'procrastinator detection'. I took my time mailing the phone back to the service (to test their service, of course), and I was sent a USPS priority mail box that was already self-addressed. Just pack up the phone well, put it in the box, and drop it in a mailbox. They mentioned that this was an 'experimental service' so I cannot promise that they will do the same for you, but the box sitting on my counter sure guilted me into mailing that phone pretty quickly.

Lo and behold, a few days after I mailed the cell, I received an email letting us know that Second Rotation had received the box. In one more day, I had a payment confirmation email waiting for me, letting me know my phone had passed inspection, and my check was on its way (though now you can elect for a paypal payment- I am all for using less paper, but I am not sure if paypal will dip into your money on these types of transactions).

I enjoyed my experience with Second Rotation, but don't hesitate to look around for some other alternatives; there are other companies that will take non-functional electronics, or offer better prices. Seller beware: there do seem to be many 'sketchy' players in this arena, and I cannot attest that your experience will be as painless as mine if you choose another company to deal with.

Happy recycling!

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