toronto zoo phone apes

The Toronto Zoo wants to collect 15K used cell phones to help save the gorillas

If you're a functioning member of society in 2021, then chances are you have at least one old cell phone lying around your home collecting dust — and the Toronto Zoo wants you recycle it for a good cause. 

The Toronto Zoo has been operating the Phone Apes recycling program since 2006, collecting roughly 47,569 cellular devices and $38,055 since its inception 15 years ago, and this year the zoo is aiming to recycle 15,000 more phones to help save the endangered lowland gorillas of the Congo. 

"Elements used to create cell phones, such as coltan, are mined in the forests in the Congo, the home to endangered lowland gorillas," wrote the zoo on Twitter Tuesday. 

"By recycling your old devices, it will reduce demand to mine these elements where incredible species call home."

All electronic devices donated to the zoo's program are recycled through the local Quantum Lifecycle location, which is "certified to the highest standards for operational and recycling excellence."

Those who wish to donate money to the program rather than old phones can also do so, and all funds raised go towards the field conservation for Great Apes including programs such as Goualougo Triangle Ape Project: Securing the Future of Gorillas and Chimpanzees in a Changing Landscape.

The zoo also provides Ontario-based classrooms, schools, companies or organizations with Phone Apes cell phone collection boxes and marketing material upon request. 

Anyone interested in donating old phones to the program can either mail them to 361A Old Finch Ave, Toronto ON M1B 5K7, or hold onto them until the zoo reopens.

"Cell phone recycling encourages responsible waste management of electronic materials," says the zoo. 

"The e-waste sector is growing rapidly and the impacts include illegal and irresponsible mining, landfill restrictions and overuse, health problems in developing countries. Recycling of cell phones, and other small electronic devices helps reclaim valuable metals and reduces environmental social impacts."

Lead photo by

Toronto Zoo

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