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Cell phones contain metals that produce toxic waste during the mining process. When you discard your old phone for a new one, ends up in a landfill. The metals can then leach out of the device. All of these pollutants end up in local waterways and, eventually, the ocean which negatively affects the sharks and the fish they eat.

Why should we care?

Gorillas and other critically endangered species like chimpanzees and monkeys live in the Congo Basin. Coltan, a mineral used in cell phones and most other small electronics, is primarily mined in the Congo Basin. By recycling your old, broken, unused phones, there’s less of a need to mind more coltan so forests are safer for animals and they don’t lose their habitats.

As a top ocean predator, sharks play a crucial role in the food web and are vital to the natural balance of marine ecosystems. They keep populations of other aquatic species healthy and in proper proportion. This helps to regulate the behavior of prey species, preventing them from overgrazing vital habitats. Pollutants from landfills end up in local waterways and, eventually, the ocean which negatively affects the sharks and the fish they eat.

Recycling will reduce the impact of mining and keep your phone out of a landfill. Little things we do every day can help wildlife around the world!

Recycling your device is easy:

You can trade it in when you purchase a new phone (or bring in your old, broken phones too).

You can also drop off your used phones to be recycled at Adventure AquariumClementon Park or one of these participating Philadelphia area Metro by T-Mobile store:

  • 1600 N. Broad Street (on Temple’s campus), Philadelphia
  • 330 Oregon Avenue, Philadelphia
  • 3817 Aramingo Avenue, Philadelphia
  • 2201 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia
  • 249 Glenside Avenue, Holmes
  • 2401 Cheltenham Avenue, Wyncote
  • 6906 Market Street, Upper Darby
  • 50 E. State Street, Trenton
  • 1629 N. Kings Highway, Cherry Hill

Here are a few pro tips before bringing in a device for recycling:

  • Erase your address book, photos, messages and other stored information
  • Disable the activation lock, anti-theft and/or find your phone settings
  • Turn off power
  • Remove the SIM card (found in some GSM or 4G devices). If you’re unsure if your device has one, contact your provider for more information
  • Restore the device factory settings on your phone
  • For instructions on how to do this, go to the owner’s manual or on the manufacturers’ web site and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for deleting all personal information on your wireless device

FACT:  It is estimated that 1.5 billion smartphones are sold worldwide annually.  According to the EPA, less than 20% of unwanted cell phones are recycled each year.  In the US alone there are more than half a billion cell phones ready for recycling, and more are added every day.

Be part of the solution.  By recycling your cell phone you are preventing a large number of hazardous substances from entering our environment. 
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