Do you remember the first cell phone you had? Right now you are probably picturing a phone as big as your shoe or one that you need to flip open to be able to use. Over the years, you have probably collected a number of cell phones. I can you tell that I have five phones collecting dust in a drawer in my bedroom right now. So what is the proper way to discard those dusty old phones? Well, the Cincinnati Zoo has launched a program that not only motivates you to recycle your cell phone, but also a way to help save gorillas.

cell phone pile

In 2006, The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical garden launched a recycling program called Project Savings Species. The zoo is keen to recycling cell phones because cell phone batteries contain coltan, a rare mineral that’s mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is the main area where gorillas form their natural habit. This area also features the Kahuzi Biega National Park, home of the Mountain Gorilla. By clearing the ground for mining, the gorilla population has been cut in half.

Cell phones also contain hazardous waste materials such as mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic, so it is not a good idea for them to be sent to landfills anyway. Recycling coltan helps reduce the demand for it, thus helping save animals and their habitats.


According to the zoos website, the average person swaps phones every 18 months (and I thought I was bad.) However, less than one percent of old phones are recycled. Since the launch of the program, there has been about 60,000 devices collected. The zoo partners with Eco-Cell, a company that donates the recycled phones for emergency purposes upon request.

Over the past couple of years the zoo has ran the Go Bananas Challenge campaign. This is an opportunity for student, scout and community groups to help support the cause. The goal is simple—collect as many devices as you can.

For four consecutive years, The Cincinnati Zoo has been the No. 1 zoo in North America to recycle phones. The zoo has also partnered with the Cincinnati Bengals to encourage their fans to bring in their old cell phones.


Here at Budget Dumpster, we do not accept any form of hazardous waste in our dumpsters. We ensure our customers that we transfer their unwanted materials to the proper facilities for disposing and recycling. Learn more about dumpster rentals in Cincinnati by checking out our website! After learning about the Cincinnati Zoos program, our team plans to bring in their old phones, reminisce, and recycled them properly.