Boone County High School in Cincinnati in the United States is getting on the idea to recycle cell phones in order to save the gorillas. To this end, the high school has joined forces with Cincinnati Zoo to run the program to recycle old cell phones, which has been given the name of Eco-Cell. All cell phones contain a mineral known as columbite, which has to be mined in the Congo rain forest and is destroying the habitats of native gorillas. Lenny Beck, who is a teacher of science at Boone County High School, says that the more old cell phones can be recycled and the mineral reused, the less is needed and therefore the less mining and the less destruction of the gorillas’ habitat will be necessary. “It reduces the amount of habitat destruction,” he says.
The zoo gets the money that the school makes from the recycling of the used cell phones and is then able to put it toward both taking care of their own gorillas and assisting in the conservation efforts being undertaken in the Congo. Students began running a campaign to collect old cell phones, creating Facebook pages and making promotional videos to assist them in their effort, with an overall result – after just two weeks – of four hundred and eighty two old cell phones having been handed in for recycling. “It was quite an effort,” Beck notes, with Boone County High School having managed to outperform similar schemes run by schools in more affluent neighborhoods. “It doesn’t really matter what’s coming in income wise,” he adds. “We have great kid.”