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We love our cell phones, there’s no doubt about that. But if we knew more about what was going on across the world in order to make our sleek little smart phones possible, we might not be so reverent of these gadgets.
Inside all of our cell phones there are tiny pieces of gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum (coltan), minerals that are all mined from the earth. These minerals are used to fuse circuits and hold our phones together, but the high demand for these finite resources has been linked to incredible violence and habitat destruction in the areas where they are mined.
The Congo Basin has seen some of the worst conflict over minerals used to make electronics. This region of Africa is also home to the largest intact population of chimpanzees in the world, making the implications of this conflict even worse.
JGI offices all across the world are collaborating with electronic recycling companies to make recycling your phone easier than you ever imagined. In the U.S. all you have to do is print out a label from ECO-CELL, put your old phones in a box and ship them off! (For detailed instructions, click here.)
The minerals from your old electronics can be harvested and used to make new phones, tablets and computers. We all have a stack of old phones collecting dust somewhere in our homes, so why not use those gadgets for good and help reduce the demand for invasive mineral mining in the Congo.
Check out this video from Jane Goodall to learn more about why you should recycle your old phone.
If you already recycle your old phones and electronics you can still take part in this awesome campaign by helping to spread the word. Use the #Call2Action15 to connect with the JGI community and spread the word!