The United States throws away about 152 million phones every year. Worldwide, 400 million people have an old, spare cell phone that they keep.
Besides the fact that throwing away cell phones is e-waste, properly disposing of and recycling your old phones can help an endangered species: the Western lowland gorillas.
A mineral called coltan is found in cell phones, which is mined in the rainforests the gorillas call home, thus destroying their habitats.
Coltan is found in a lot of similar items, such as video game consoles. Eighty percent of the world’s supply is found in the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which is also where most of the Western lowland gorillas live.
Coltan is a conflict mineral, and besides having devastating impacts on the gorilla population in the DRC, civil wars often revolve around the mineral.
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