Potawatomi Zoo announces new recycling feature at the zoo in partnership with ECO-CELL

NOW: Potawatomi Zoo announces new recycling feature at the zoo in partnership with ECO-CELL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Potawatomi Zoo announces new recycling ECO-CELL box inside the zoo's entrance in partnership with ECO-CELL.

ECO-CELL is a waste management company focused on recycling electronic products.

They partner up with zoos across the country, one of them recently added to the list was the Potawatomi Zoo.

ECO-CELL established a drop-off box inside the entrance of the zoo where people can drop off old phones and other electronics that many times make it into landfills instead.

The initiative’s goal is to protect endangered species like okapis, an animal only found in one country in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is just one animal group affected by the tech industry.

Okapis are hard enough to find in their one native habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo but the Potawatomi Zoo is the only zoo in Indiana to have two of them.

Many zoologists are trying to estimate the number of okapis left in the wild, but aren’t sure how many are exactly out there.

But, one thing officials can say is their kind are slowly decreasing in population numbers.

One reason we might not think of that is causing wildlife like the okapis to go extinct is the materials used to make cell phones.

“By recycling your cell phone and saving mines in the area so that we’re not getting new material and new ore to make the cell phone, hanging on to your cellphone a little longer than you might and not upping to that new version right away, it really makes a big impact on the environment that these guys live in, in the wild,” McCausland said.

Those materials are highly present in okapis’ habitats in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

So, when mining companies go to extract that ore, they play into the deforestation of needed habitats which can push animals out and eventually cause species to go extinct.

While the effects are hurting animals, it’s a practice many countries rely on as a main source of revenue.

Since coltan has become such a high dollar necessity, illegal mining began to occur, heightening the issue and need for a change.

“You can recycle your cell phone, used tablets, chargers, adapters. You can put all of those items in an eco-cell container and these items get recycled or re-used or redistributed and it basically helps with our animal conservation program,” said Danielle McCausland, Potawatomi Zoo’s Development Manager.

If you would like to recycle, all you have to do is go inside the Potawatomi Zoo and look for the orange-green box to the left of the entrance.

By participating in this recycling project, you are contributing to positive impacts to our environment and animals.

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