Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;


Recycle Your Unwanted Phones and Donate to DFGFI

The following is an article that was published in the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International newsletter some time ago.  I have also learned that the Dian Fossey field workers in Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo sometimes use donated smart phones or tablets to keep field notes on the gorillas.  All in all, this is a very good cause and a painless way to help some wonderful people.

I will not be at the October meeting but if you bring your old phones and tablets to the November meeting, I will collect them and send them to the Fossey office.  I will also have contact information for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in case anyone wishes to be put on their newsletter list.

Text of the article follows.

Ken Gunn

You may be surprised to learn that our tiny cell phones have a big impact on the gorilla’s prospects for survival, and on the health of our planet overall. Fortunately, by donating your cell phone for recycling when the time comes to replace it, you can help reduce those problems while also directly supporting the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

This is the connection between cell phones and gorillas: The key to making your phone so small is a strategic ore known as coltan (short for columbite-tantalite). It’s the source of the element tantalum, which is used to coat components of electronic devices so they don’t overheat, and it’s found in just a few places in the world. One of those places is the Democratic Republic of Congo, in habitats shared by gorillas and elephants. For years, groups seeking valuable coltan have helped fuel the armed conflicts in the Congo, destroying habitat, killing people and wildlife, and hindering conservation efforts.

An organization called Eco-Cell makes it easy for organizations and individuals all over the country to keep obsolete cell phones out of our landfills, reduce the market for new phones and lower the incentive to mine coltan illegally. Eco-cell encourages its partner organizations to collect the phones and pays to have them shipped to a central office that will refurbish many of them for sale to low-income users in other countries, or to selected groups such as hospitals that give them to patients who may need to make emergency calls after being discharged. Unusable phones and accessories are sent to certified recyclers who follow strict EPA guidelines to protect the environment from various hazardous materials found in cell phones.

Funds received from resale of the phones go to conservation groups. A donation goes to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International for every phone sent to Zoo Atlanta. Zoo Atlanta is already in the top 10 zoos in the nation for cell phone recycling, with more than 1,000 phones collected in 2008.

How to help:

 Mail the cell phones you don’t use anymore to Cell Phone Recycling Program, Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30315. Or, send them directly to Eco-Cell at 2701 Lindsey Ave., Louisville, KY 40206 and mention that you would like DFGFI to receive the contribution. If you have five or more phones to recycle, ask to send you a label for free shipping. For more information: