Have you ever asked yourself: What are all these broken cell phones doing in the drawer? And then your “other” voice says: They are not really in the way, I’ll throw them out later.
I had a friend bring me a bag of 6 phones and chargers last week. They were in a box in his garage for 2 years. 6 phones? There are 2 people in his family! We cannot keep up with the cell phone revolution and our landfills should not have to either. To make matters worse, every phone not recovered and recycled is equal to minerals and resources coming directly out of the African Congo. Everyone says – “What can we do?”. Here is what you can do and it really makes a difference.
Bring your cell phone to the zoo for recycling and help save wildlfe, and people, in Africa. Civil wars and rebel groups thrive on the illegal trade in the resources which make our phones, laptops, digital cameras, and video games run. There is a mineral in our phones called coltan and it acts as a capacitor in your phone. Armed groups in eastern Congo that control minerals, mines and trading routes generate an estimated $180 million each year by trading four main minerals: tin, tantalum (colton), tungsten, and gold.
And with these groups comes habitat destruction, illegal poaching and bushmeat, as well as the loss of human life due to the civil unrest. Something as simple as a cell phone has created a power struggle over resources. By recycling that resource so that it can be refurbished and re-used, we cut down on the amount of product imported, and hopefully slow down the trade.
Want to start a company wide collection program? Schools, Scout troops? Wildlife can use everyone’s help. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Cell Phone Recycling: Help the environment by recycling hazardous waste. Cell phones contain a number of hazardous substances that can seriously impact the environment. Donate your cell phone to the Houston Zoo and the Zoo will have it recycled ensuring that most of these cell phones and their accessories will be reused or properly disposed of.
Sending your unwanted cell phones to the Houston Zoo will help provide funds that will benefit wildlife conservation at the Houston Zoo’s wildlife conservation efforts. The Houston Zoo works with recycling organizations that will accept these products and return funds to the zoo for the parts they are able to re-use in their products.
Help Wildlife in the Congo: Why recycle your cell phone? First, it can help the environment by recycling hazardous waste but it also may help animals in the wild. Columbite-tantalite, or Coltan for short, is a dull metallic ore found in major quantities in the eastern areas of the African Congo. It is used in cell phones, laptops, pagers and other electronic devices. When refined, coltan becomes metallic tantalum, a heat resistant powder that can hold a high electrical charge. Some types of Coltan mining may occur illegally in protected lands all across the Congo which in turn put wildlife such as Elephants and Gorillas of the Congo region at risk. Eighty percent of the world’s known coltan supply is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There, it is mined by hand by groups of men digging basins in streams, scraping away dirt to get to the muddy coltan underneath. Recycling unused cell phones can help protect the wildlife, since reuse of the phones results in the need for fewer new ones, which reduces the need for coltan mining.
The Houston Zoo has a recycling bin in our Natural Selections Gift Shop for collection of unwanted cell phones, batteries, and chargers or they can be mailed to:
Houston Zoo Inc.
Cell Phone Recycle
Houston, TX 77030
The Houston Zoo is working with Eco-Cell
and will donate 100% of the funds raised to support wildlife conservation programs through our Naturally Wild Conservation Program which currently oversees nearly two dozen wildlife and habitat conservation efforts in ten countries. Items collected will be sold, refurbished, or recycled. Damaged or obsolete phones will be safely recycled in accordance with all applicable environmental guidelines.