gobananas
Children across the Country Answer the Call

CINCINNATI, OH  – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Project Saving Species and The Gorilla Glue Company have teamed up for the second year in a row to promote a national competition called the Go Bananas! Challenge which kicks off  September 1, 2012! The competition challenges school and community youth groups across the country to Answer the Call, and create campaigns to collect and recycle cell phones to help save gorillas.

Cell phones contain an ore called coltan. One of the only places in the world where this ore can be found is in the Democratic Republic of Congo – right in the middle of gorilla habitat. As a direct result of mining for coltan, the world’s gorilla population is losing its habitat, being displaced and being killed by poachers.  And the simple act of recycling a cell phone can make a difference, by reducing the need to mine for coltan.

The group that collects the most cell phones will be awarded the grand prize of $4,000 and the group with the most creative campaign (via a People’s Choice Vote) will win $1,000! Signing up is easy – join the challenge online by visiting http://cincinnatizoo.org/savingspeciescontest/ and start thinking about a creative campaign. The contest ends April 8, 2013 and the winning group will be announced on April 22, 2013.  Every group that signs up receives a welcome gift box courtesy of The Gorilla Glue Company and any group that circulates their contest on Facebook and receives more than 500 “likes” will receive a private Skype session with a Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Keeper.   

“This is a fun way for children to get involved in their world and do something that has a direct impact on a global scale,” said David Jenike, Chief Operating Office at the Cincinnati Zoo. “If we’re going to set out to save the planet, we have to get the youth of this country involved and it needs to start at an early age.”

“The gorilla is a symbol of strength and the central component of our company’s brand. This program is an excellent opportunity to help save precious natural resources and make an impact,” states Peter Ragland, president, The Gorilla Glue Company. “We are proud to partner with the Cincinnati Zoo and support this important cause.”

There are currently more than 270 million cell phone users in the United States alone and over 4 billion users worldwide. The average lifespan of a cell phone in the United States is about a year and a half. Of these old cell phones that are no longer in use, less than one percent are recycled. Cell phones also contain lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic which are hazardous waste so if sent to landfills they can filter into the soil and groundwater.

In 2011, the Cincinnati Zoo recycled more than 19,000 cell phones, (more than any other Zoo in the country, and kept at least 1200 pounds of accessories and 600 pounds of batteries out of the landfill). The goal for this year’s challenge is 25,000 cell phones and the Cincinnati Zoo cannot do it alone. The Go Bananas Challenge will not only help the Cincinnati Zoo reach its goal, but also save gorilla habitat and give money back to conservation projects around the world. 

For more information about the Cincinnati Zoo’s Project Saving Species cell phone recycling program and the Go Bananas Challenge!, visit http://cincinnatizoo.org/savingspeciescontest/