Monday, February 07, 2011

Help Us Help Hayley Help Gorillas

I would like to tell you about a remarkable 3rd grade student, who is

passionate about creating positive change. Her name is Hayley Cartwright and

she attends Ecole Mountview School.

After attending a zoo camp in Calgary, last summer, Hayley learned, that the

habitats for gorillas were endangered because of mining for an ore called

coltan (columbite-tantalite). This ore is a source of the element tantalum

which is an essential coating for components of cell phones and is found in

the Congo in the middle of endangered gorilla and elephant habitats.

She wanted to know what could be done to help the gorillas, how she could

make a difference. Hayley started asking questions and with her mother's

help found a contact at the Calgary Zoo that provided them with the

information to get her 'project' started.

Reducing the demand for coltan will aid in the preservation of these

habitats, and this could be done by simply recycling cellular phones.

Due to their small size and rapid replacement cycle, cell phones often end

up in the waste stream contributing a mass of toxic materials in our


Cell phones and their accessories contain a large number of hazardous

substances including heavy metals which may linger in the environment for

many years and have adverse effects on human health.

By recycling your cell phone, you are keeping toxic chemicals out of

landfills.. You may also preserve vital animal habitats by reducing the

demand for coltan. When people realize that recycling their cell phones

(most homes in North America have 2-3 lying unused in a drawer) can help

gorillas they're very enthusiastic to pitch in.

Eco-cell pays the zoo 60 cents per phone recycled. They collect the phones

at the Calgary Zoo, strip the batteries from them (to be recycled locally)

and ship the phones to Eco-cell. They will accept cords, chargers-everything

that comes with a phone. The money from the phones goes to the Zoo's

conservation fund where it is put towards gorilla conservation in the wild.

They can't assume responsibility for cleaning information off phones, so

they ask that donators do that in advance.

Hayley's drive to be successful at collecting cell phones, was more than

just setting up a collection point within her own school. She started

talking to her friends and family about how many more cell phones could be

collected if more people knew about the gorillas. Now, there are more kids,

from other schools who were more than excited to be part of Hayley's

collective project. Recycle boxes have been compiled with a poster for a

drop off box in several schools, and we have even compiled an information

newsletter to accompany the small blue boxes, for each school to send out in

their email notices and newsletter systems.

Can you help us?

Drop your old cell phone or smart phone at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. We have a blue box set aside for this project. All the funds will go to the Calgary Zoo Cell Phone Recycling Program.

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