Smartphone waste. (MikroLogika, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The Israeli-made vending machine makes it easy to sell, trade and recycle used phones

Many people have collections of old unused smartphones at home because they don’t know what to do with them.

Now, an Israeli company has come up with a solution: a vending machine that allows consumers to recycle, sell or upgrade to a better — refurbished — model. It aims to save energy, natural resources and environmental damages related to mining associated with the production of smartphones and reduce end-use e-waste.

Founded in 2015, RE-Refurbished Smartphones Revolution offers a turnkey machine and is currently available in three stores in Tel Aviv and 14 in Europe – in Finland, Germany and Spain.

On Wednesday, the Israeli-made vending machine was demonstrated at the Climate Solutions Conference and Festival organized by Start Up Nation Central, the KKL-JNF and the Canadian Jewish National Fund in central Israel’s Hulda Forest.

The machine is easy to use.

Enter the phone’s serial number so the system can verify that it belongs to you, has not been stolen and has been paid for in full. After you check some boxes, you place your phone on the sensor board, where an AI system validates the claims you’ve made about your phone, and gives you a price.

Notably, this number can be much lower – half the price and sometimes less – than the phone would fetch on the second-hand market. But it is definitely convenient.

The reporter’s iPhone 12 was valued at 1090 shekels ($308.50). For an additional 2,010 shekels ($600), it could have been exchanged for a completely refurbished, refurbished, and unlocked iPhone 12 Pro Max with a 12-month warranty.

An automated demonstration of the refurbished smartphone revolution at the Climate Solutions Conference and Festival in Hulda Forest, central Israel, on October 26, 2022. From left: Chief Marketing Officer Carmit Lev Solach, CEO Itzik Chun, Director of Development Mali Hadar, and Catering Company Chain Manager Ido Maor . (Sue Work/Times of Israel)

according to Zap . price comparison site (Hebrew) The new model of this iPhone currently costs between NIS 3,805 ($1,077) to NIS 4,689 ($1,327).

The options are to exchange the phone for a better model – in which case a flap is opened, hold the phone and exchange for an upgrade – or sell it, in which case the automatic machine swallows the phone and pays for it immediately via bank transfer, PayPal or – if the customer chooses – a gift card.

All phones “swallowed” by the device are sent to a lab where the content is “criminally erased”, in line with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, according to Mali Hadar, who is in charge of the development.

Phones that are in good condition are inspected and offered for resale.

If repairs are needed, they are sold to the wholesaler who refurbishes them.

If it is too old or broken to be worth anything, it is sold for recycling, either to the Israel Metals and Electronics Recycling Company, Jayaor to a recycling company in Poland.

If the customer feels remorse, RE will return the refurbished phones within 14 days and refund the money without “asked any questions,” according to The company’s website.

Hadar said that while other companies have previously developed machines that accept old cell phones for recycling, RE is the first to integrate their buying and selling as well.

Tel Aviv machines can be found at: pm in Nordau and Allenby stores, and in the Shalom Meir Tower (Kol Bo Shalom) on Herzl Street.

An estimated 100 to 200 million phones are disposed of worldwide each year, according to the company, and only one in ten is recycled. For every million smartphones recycled, 34 kilograms (75 pounds) of gold can be produced, along with 350 kilograms (772 pounds) of silver, 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of palladium, and 16,000 kilograms (35,274 pounds) of copper.

Smartphones are made of 62 different metals that must be mined.

according to UNICEFMore than 40,000 children work in mines that extract cobalt – an essential component of batteries in cell phones and other electronic devices.

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