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EBay’s Instant Sale Offers Cash for Old Electronics

Have a dead cell phone kicking around in your electronics drawer? No more excuses to keep it there. Auction giant eBay just made it easy to ditch such items in a sustainable manner with Instant Sale, a tool that allows users to almost instantly swap gadgets for money.

Here’s how it works: type in the name, make, and model of a device, answer a few questions about its condition, and eBay makes a cash offer. If you decide to accept the offer, the site generates a shipping label and slips cash in your Paypal account once eBay receives the device for recycling.

Users can make a decent amount of cash with eBay’s program. A Droid Eris in good condition, for example, fetches $87. And a first generation 16GB iPod Touch yields $38 (with the charger included). Even products with zero value can still be shipped to eBay for recycling–for free, of course.

This is far from the first online electronics recycling scheme. Best Buy also has a popular one, and a startup called Gazelle had the same idea a few years back. But eBay’s propensity to attract people who are already trying to ditch old items — often without success — means the program could influence a significant portion of the site’s 90 million users. And that’s something to be excited about.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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