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Western Lowland Gorilla

Calling all Conservationists: Donate your Cell Phone to Help Gorillas

By recycling your phones at Zoo New England, you help protect animals like western lowland gorillas that live in areas where cell phone materials are mined. Help us by donating your electronic device at Franklin Park Zoo or Stone Zoo, or better yet, start your own collection drive!


What is coltan? 

Coltan is mined for metals used to make tiny capacitors (similar to batteries) used in cell phones and other small electronics. Much of the world’s coltan supply is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is also home to many endangered species, including gorillas.

Increasing demand for electronics has led to more mining, which has in turn led to destruction of natural habitats and increased risk for species, like great apes, that are already struggling.

How can you help?

Extend the life of your cell phone: commit to using it a few years longer and recycle it when you upgrade. We've teamed up with Eco-Cell, an initiative which partners with zoos across the country to collect cell phones for recycling and, in some cases, reuse. This reduces the need for more coltan, leads to less mining and destruction of habitat, and helps the gorillas!

coltan infographic

What to recycle

  • Cell phones
  • Smartphones
  • iPods/ iPads
  • Tablets
  • Adapters
  • Chargers
  • Earbuds
  • MP3 players

Where to recycle

Visit the gorilla exhibit in Franklin Park Zoo's Tropical Forest or head to the giftshop at Stone Zoo. There you'll see a large Eco-Cell collection box in which you can drop off any used electronics listed above. Feel free to email us with questions.