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Gorillas & Cell Phones?

Electronics are connected to gorillas via an ore called Coltan. Coltan is refined into   Tantalum which coats capacitors inside e-gadgets and makes them energy efficient. This ore is found in great quantity in the Congo, home to the critically endangered gorilla and chimpanzee. The U.N. has reported that in the past five years the eastern lowland gorilla population in the Congo has declined 90% owing to these mining operations and related poaching of gorillas for bushmeat.


Recycling your cell phones with ECO-CELL helps save these animals by raising funds for gorilla conservation and reducing the demand for Coltan. Additionally ECO-CELL aims to deter toxic waste from US landfills, build more sophisticated consumers and push for the creation of more sustainable electronics.

Coltan: Coats capacitors inside cell phones to make them energy efficient,


"The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to critically endangered gorillas and other important species. The loss of this rule deeply threatens their already delicate future and could lead to the final destruction of critical forests...Congo is also, however, very rich in natural resources, especially minerals like gold, as well as columbite-tantalite – also called “coltan” – which is used in making electronic gadgets.

-Dr. Tara Stoinski, president and CEO/chief scientist, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund


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Gorilla habitats are found in patchy swaths across equatorial Africa.

There are two gorilla species in the world, the Western and Eastern Gorilla. Within these classifications are 4 sub species :Western Lowland, Eastern Lowland, also known as Grauer's Gorilla, Mountain, and the Cross River gorilla.

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Screenshot 2023-05-06 at 7.55_edited.jpg

Depiction of Gorilla territory affected by war, mining and logging in Eastern DRC.

  • There are over 6 billion cell phones on the planet

  • Less than 20% of cell phones are recycled

  • Americans on average buy a new cell phone every 18 months

  • Over 130 Million cell phones are discarded every year in the US

  • It takes over 500lbs of raw material and 1 gigajoule of energy to create a smartphone

  •  E-Waste is the fastest growing waste stream and also the most toxic

 © Riccardo Pravettoni / UNEP-Grid-Arendal Sources: UNOCHA, series of maps

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