Good Use for Cell Phones

1:30 PM -- Finally. The WTOP Radio Website out of Washington, D.C., shares this hopeful plea:

    Help save a gorilla. Donate your old cell phone to the National Zoo.

    The group, Friends of the National Zoo, is collecting the old cell phones, their batteries and accessories. The materials will be recycled or refurbished in an effort to cut down on both waste and the mining of coltan in the Congo, where wild gorillas are threatened. Coltan is used to coat components of cell phones.

    Coltan is short for Columbite-tantalite. It is a metallic ore comprising Niobium and Tantalum, 80 percent of which is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says National Zoo spokesman Matt Olear.

    "The mining of Coltan there is destroying habitat for these gorillas, and it's also making them vulnerable to poaching for the bush meat trade," says Olear.

    Olear says usable phones will be given to ECO-Cell, a Kentucky company, that refurbishes them for use in developing countries. In return, the zoo will get up to $15.

    To donate your phone, just bring it to the Zoo's Visitor Center and drop it in the collection box at the front desk.
— Larry, Attack Monkey, Light Reading

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