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Minnesota Zoo Free Entrance Cell Phone Drive

March 30th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Last month in Minnesota Zoo children and their parents were treated to free entrance tickets in exchange for every cell phone they bring in for recycling.

Last month, the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, MN embarked on an innovative cell phone recycling drive. During the month of March, children and their parents were treated to free entrance tickets to the zoo in exchange for every cell phone they bring in for recycling.

The Minnesota Zoo houses over 2,900 animals representing 504 species, many of which are considered rare, threatened, or endangered. Among the top attractions at the zoo are the Bottlenosed Dolphins, Komodo Dragons, Amur Tigers, and Peregrine Falcons found in the zoo’s 7 trails.

It is estimated that at least 500 million used cell phones are discarded every year in the United States. Only a very small percentage of these phones are recycled or sent back to manufacturers for proper disposal. A vast majority are either kept hidden in drawers or thrown to thrash bins.

Trashed used cell phones are a major source of contaminants in landfills where these devices are eventually deposited. Cell phones contain trace amounts of heavy metals like mercury, lead, arsenic, antimony, and cadmium. These are dangerous substances that could severely impact human health once they leak into surrounding areas or leach into the nearby water systems.

Zoos and other conservation institutions are particularly active in cell phone recycling as these devices have a direct impact on the welfare of certain ape species in Africa. Eastern Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) in eastern Congo are threatened because of the continued encroachment of poachers and miners in their natural habitat in search of Coltan, used to produce Tantalum – a basic component in today’s cell phones. It is hoped that the more cell phones we are able to recycle, the lesser the demand will be for freshly-mined Coltan thereby protecting the apes in Congo.

Pacebutler Corporation is also accepting cell phones for recycling on behalf of the American Cell Phone Drive. You can also donate cell phones to benefit your preferred charity or nonprofit through Pacebutler. Finally, for those who just want to clear up the electronic clutter at home and make money in the process, Pacebutler will also buy your used cell phones for as much as $100 per unit.

Tags: Cell Phone Recycling

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jim // Apr 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    This sounds like a great program. I was recently in a mall in San Diego and saw a reverse vending machine that pays for old cell phones. I am thrilled that people are doing what they can to keep these devices out of landfills.

  • 2 Aaron B // May 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    It’s too bad I don’t live in Minnesota–I have 4 or 5 phones I could drop off–and I love a day at the zoo!! Sounds like I’ll have to keep my eyes out for another cell phone drive in my area rather than dumping them in the trash.