Cell phones have become a permanent fixture in our everyday lives. It’s one of the first things you look at in the morning, and the last thing you look at before sleeping. They keep us connected and help us in almost everything we do, but have you ever wondered about their impact on the environment?  

 Columbite-tantalite, or Coltan for short, is an essential element in the production of cell  phones,laptops, and many other electrical devices. This element is mined in the Congo, rapidly depleting the habitat of endangered gorillas and elephants.

In fact, eighty percent of the world’s known Coltan supply is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But fear not! There is something you can do to help. With technology constantly evolving, it is estimated that there may be around 500 million unused cell phones floating around the United States alone, with as many as 100 million added each year. Bring those outdated cellular devices to the Aeros game on Sunday, March 18 for Conservation Night and participate in our Cell Phone Recycling Program! Find the Houston Zoo table, turn in your old cell phone, and you will receive four tickets to the Aeros game on Sunday, April 15 and a kid’s pass to the Zoo!

Parts of your old devices can be reused to reduce the amount of Coltan that is mined in the Congo, preserving what is left of the depleted habitat of these amazing animals as well as reducing waste that ends up in landfills. You can also recycle old cell phones year-round by dropping them in our Cell Phone Recycling Bins at the front entrance of the Zoo! Not only will you be relieving yourself of some extra clutter, but the proceeds from all devices collected benefit the Houston Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Fund. So come out and see us at the Aeros game on Sunday, March 18! We’ll see you there!


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