A critical component in smartphones and other devices is a substance called coltan. 80% of the world’s supply of coltan is found directly in the center of gorilla habitat in the Congo. Mineral mining for smartphones has fueled bloody conflicts and gorilla habitat loss. The best way you can reduce this impact is recycling old smartphones and limiting unnecessary upgrades to a new device.
Story County Conservation has partnered with the Blank Park Zoo and ECO-CELL to recycle your old smartphones (and ipads, tablets, mp3 players, handheld gaming systems, chargers, and device accessories). ECO-CELL is a nonprofit which reclaims the precious minerals found inside these devices. Recycling these items helps save endangered gorillas by reducing the demand for coltan while 100% of the proceeds from this project go directly towards reforestation in the Congo and care for rescued gorillas.
You can bring your devices to the Story County Conservation Center (56461 180th Street, Ames) during our regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm).
You can also find some more information about the initiative on Blank Park Zoo’s website: Learn more about the initiative here