USPS launches electronics recycling, pays you for old smartphones

post office

Detailed within a press release from the United States Postal Service, the government organization is partnering with MaxBack to launch an electronic recycling program that pays consumers for old electronics. Similar to Gazelle or Amazon’s Trade-in program, consumers can visit the USPS site and click through to the MaxBack site. Using the search field, consumers can look for their smartphone, tablet or iPod in order to see the cashback value of the device. At this point, the consumer evaluates the current condition of the device and categorizes it under a specific quality level. Identical to other electronic recycling services, the amount of money paid to the consumer is completely dependent on the current quality of the device.

maxback usps displayAccording to the site, all devices must ship with the original battery despite the working condition of the device. However, accessories like the charging cable, instruction manual or original packaging aren’t necessarily required to hit a specific value.

Once the item has been assigned a quality level, the consumer packages it up in a USPS Priority mail box and ships the device for free to MaxBack. If the consumer forgets to delete personal data from the smartphone or tablet, MaxBack performs a data wipe on all devices in addition to destroying the SIM card. 

If a device was shipped out today, MaxBack estimates that payment would be issued within five days. Upon inspection of the device, the MaxBack representatives can approve the appraised value and issue a PayPal payment immediately. However, if the MaxBack appraisers alter the value after inspection, they will issue a re-quote and ask the consumer to approve. If the consumer does not approve, the device will be shipped back to them at no extra cost. 

When comparing the services, this is the value of a locked, 8GB AT&T iPhone 4 in “good condition” across a variety of electronic recycling services. Note that the amounts listed from Target, Walmart and Amazon are not cash, but store credit in the form of an electronic gift card.

Device   USPS / Maxback      Gazelle      Target      Walmart      Amazon     
iPhone 4 8GB (AT&T) $119     $96      $150      $161.83     $144.50    

One advantage to using the service through USPS is that MaxBack kiosks will be on display at your local post office. In addition, users will be able to utilize MaxBack’s Rapidquote program to get an instant quote. Using a QR code, a consumer inside a USPS office will be able to scan the code and run through the entire MaxBack process from the mobile device. With nearby shipping materials, everything can be completed at the post office without having to go online and completing the process with a personal computer.

Beyond Paypal, consumers can choose to receive a check or Amazon gift card. However, the Amazon gift card doesn’t make much sense as a payment option if Amazon will give the consumer approximately 20 percent more store credit through its trade-in program. However, MaxBack is also partnering with the educational system and allows consumers to select a school when registering for an account. For each device that the consumer sends, MaxBack will send the selected school a ten percent commission check based off the final quoted value of the device.

Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent indoor antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be touch. To help, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.