Calling All Schools and Scout Groups – Help Save Gorillas and Win $5,000

Posted November 16, 2011

The Cincinnati Zoo’s Project Saving Species and The Gorilla Glue Company have teamed up to create a national competition called the Go Bananas Challenge!, which kicks off today! The competition challenges schools and scout 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. And 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 and start thinking about a creative campaign. The contest ends January 27, 2012 and the winning group will be announced on February 1, 2012.  “This is a fun way for kids to get involved in making a difference on a global scale,” said David Jenike, Chief Operating Office at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Kids love animals and kids love a challenge. This is the perfect pairing.”

“The gorilla is a symbol of strength and a 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, Gorilla Glue Company.

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 2010, the Cincinnati Zoo recycled 10,365 cell phones, more than any other Zoo in the country, and kept at least 600 pounds of accessories and 300 pounds of batteries out of landfills. 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!, please click here.