Virginia Zoo collecting used smartphones, tablets for recycling program

Living Local

The Eco-Cell bin can be found by the main entrance. Credit: The Virginia Zoo

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — If you’ve got an old tablet or smartphone just laying around, why not recycle it to help save some habitats?

The Virginia Zoo is collecting old smartphones, tablets and their charges and adapters as a part of a new technology recycling initiative.

They’ve partnered with Eco-Cell, a family-owned business in Kentucky, to recycle the electronics that contain rare minerals and metals.

The Zoo says one of those rare metals is tantalum, which comes from a metallic ore mined in the African Congo.

According to the Zoo, the mining destroys the habitats in that region and threatens animals like the eastern bongo and yellow-backed duiker that can be seen at the Zoo.

Recycling the electronics reduces the amount of new minerals that need to be mined and deters toxic waste from landfills.

The Zoo received $1,000 in funding from Keep Virginia Beautiful’s “30 in 30 Green Grants,” and used the donation to create a weather-proof and secure collection bin for the electronics.

You can put your electronics in the bin outside of the Zoo’s main entrance near the gift shop.

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