How many cell phones have you disposed of in your mobile-talking life?
The Houston Zoo, along with Eco-Cell (a recycling operation in Louisville, Kentucky) and 46 other zoos and aquariums around the United States, is collecting unwanted mobile phones, batteries, chargers, PDAs and printer cartridges.
The funds that Eco-Cell makes from recycling, refurbishing or reselling these items will be funneled into conservation projections in the African Congo. The region was picked because columbite-tantalite, or coltan, is used in cell phones, laptops, pagers and similar electronic devices. Mining for this substance has been the subject of illegal mining in protected land that the program is hoping to protect. Incidentally, Eco-Cell estimates that about 80 percent of the phones it collects are put to use again.
If you can't visit the zoo in person, you can mail your cell phone to:
Cell Phone Recycle
1513 North MacGregor
Houston, Texas 77030
And there are plenty of organizations also working with Eco-Cell as part of conservation fundraisers so check out their site to see if there's one local to you.