phone disposal toronto

Here's how getting rid of your old cellphone in Toronto can help endangered gorillas

If, like many of us, you've got a small store of long-forgotten old cellphones sequestered away in the back of a drawer somewhere, there's a way you can free up some storage space while also helping out a good cause in Toronto.

Given that we use them for everything, phones are pretty easy to run through — perhaps you've had a recent drop-and-smash incident, acquired some water damage, or just took an upgrade.

For whatever reason, people tend to end up holding on to their old devices in these cases, often simply because they aren't sure how to properly dispose of them (throwing such a piece of technology in the trash not only feels weird given the original price tag, but is also obviously bad for the environment).

But the Toronto Zoo can help with that through its Phone Apes recycling program, which has saved tens of thousands of old phones from landfills while also funding some amazing conservation projects.

Many might not know that one of the key components of cell phone tech, an element called tantalum, is produced using coltan, which is a metallic ore that unfortunately most often comes from rainforests that serve as habitats for endangered gorillas.

Recyling old phones means that their tantalum and other parts can be reused, meaning less coltan needs to be mined.

The zoo uses trusted recycling partners to properly extract all useful (and potentially environmentally hazardous) substances from the devices, and then resells them on the local market.

The profits then go towards various Great Apes initiatives to maintain the species and their homes.

Last year alone, the zoo had a goal to collect 15,000 phones for the cause.

Anyone interested in donating to the program — which also accepts other types of electronics such as computers, TVs and computer accessories — can either drop them in one of many collection boxes around the city, mail them to 361A Old Finch Ave, Toronto ON M1B 5K7, or come in-person.

For applialnces, monitors and larger pieces of tech, the zoo hosts special e-collection days, the next of which are June 4 and 5. Donations of funds are also, of course, accepted.

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