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Collection campaign: Protect rare mountain gorillas with old cell phones

24.11.2022 | 13:48 Clock | Citywhispers
Collection campaign: Protect rare mountain gorillas with old cell phones

The Frankfurt Zoo's successful cell phone collection campaign to protect endangered great apes is now back on track. With old cell phones, which can be delivered in the entrance area of the zoo, you can support the protection of rare mountain gorillas.

But what do old cell phones have to do with the mountain gorilla?

Every year a new cell phone. This is still common practice for very many people. But where to put the old devices that no one wants to use anymore? The answer is now again quite simple: off to the collection garbage can at Frankfurt Zoo. Cell phones collected there help to protect the habitat of the rare mountain gorillas.

Mountain gorillas live in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Their habitat is rich in natural resources. This threatens the apes, because where they live, the raw ore coltan is mined. From this, the substance tantalum, which is important for cell phone production, is extracted.

Visitors to Frankfurt Zoo can now once again hand in their used cell phones and thus contribute to the recovery of valuable raw materials from old devices. Functioning newer models are resold after being refurbished. This is not only particularly sustainable, but also makes it possible to contribute to the protection of gorillas, as the proceeds go to a nature conservation project that works to preserve gorillas. The cell phones can simply be dropped into the collection barrel in the entrance building.

The collection campaign "A cell phone for the gorilla"

Since 2009, visitors to Frankfurt Zoo have already been able to hand in used and defective cell phones at the zoo. The collection campaign "A cell phone for the gorilla" was intended to draw attention to the coltan problem and offer the opportunity to become active oneself. For each cell phone collected or sent in, the initiative received a fixed amount of money from the recycling partner. The zoo used this money to support the Frankfurt Zoological Society (ZGF). In the DRC, for example, it helped finance the work of rangers in Virunga National Park. In this protected area in the east of the DRC lives about a third of the still about 1,000 mountain gorillas worldwide.

Changed transport conditions led in 2021 to the fact that the phones could only be shipped without batteries for fire safety reasons. This increased the logistical effort so much that the collection was no longer worthwhile and it was temporarily discontinued.

Thanks to a new collection program of the company Teqcycle, the cell phone collection can now be continued. Special, fireproof transport containers make shipping with batteries possible again. In addition, the collected cell phones are no longer reimbursed at a flat rate. Teqcycle sifts through all incoming cell phones and checks which ones can be refurbished and resold. For cell phones that are resold, the company pays a significantly higher amount than before. Cell phones that cannot be resold will continue to be professionally recycled to recover the raw materials.

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