Cell Phone Recycling

Cell Phone Recycling

Roger Williams Park Zoo's cell phone recycling program is an employee led Green Team initiative.  We are collecting used electronics - like cell phones and tablets - to send to ECO-CELL, a small company in Louisville, KY, that is committed to collecting rare metals in cell phones for recycling in order to protect gorilla habitats. This new program is in partnership with Providence Community Libraries, The Providence Office of Sustainability, The Providence Public Library and other community organizations to provide electronics recycling bins throughout the city.

A collection box is available at the Zoo's main entrance! See below for more local recycling bin locations and learn how your recycled electronics make a difference.

Recycle a cell phone – save a gorilla

Why is it important to recycle electronics? By recycling your cell phone you are preventing a large number of hazardous substances from entering our environment. Many of the rare minerals and metals required to develop these devices are also mined in endangered species habitats. By recycling electronics, a consumer can extend the lifetime of a gadget and provide for the reclamation of precious metals thereby reducing the need for mining in gorilla habitats.

Our Zoo and The Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International are working together with ECO-CELL to recycle electronic devices, help the environment, and raise money for gorilla conservation. For each device received, a donation will be made to The Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the world leader in gorilla conservation. You can deposit your used devices in the collection bin at the Zoo's main entrance or one of our community partner locations, listed below.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is Gorillas on the Line?

Although you are encouraged to donate your used electronic devices all year long, from February through September 24 (World Gorilla Day) we are participating with zoos and aquariums across the globe in the “Gorillas on the Line” mobile phone recycling challenge.This mutli-month contest challenges us and other participating organizations to collect as many mobile phones for recycling as possible. By recycling old cell phones and handheld mobile devices you can help protect gorilla habitat in Africa.


How do I clear data from my phone?

The Zoo is not responsible for wiping any information from your phone.  A factory reset is pretty easy though, and you can usually do it through your phone’s settings menu. You can also head to Google and type in your phone model and factory reset  i.e.: iPhone factory reset

What gadgets/electronic devices can be recycled?

Gadgets we recycle: cell phones, smartphones, iPhones, iPods, iPads, tablets, Apple\Android watches, bluetooth, tablets. GPS, MP3 players, e-readers, digital cameras, handheld gaming systems and the accessories that come with them.

​​We don't care if your gadgets are broken, old, locked, drowned or bedazzled. The point is-conserve species, deter e-waste and  get in/evolved.

Collection bin locations?

You can drop off your electronic devices to be recycled at the following locations:

  • Roger Williams Park Zoo (Main entrance) - 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence
  • Rochambeau Public Library - 708 Hope Street, Providence
  • Providence Public Library - 150 Empire Street, Providence
  • South Providence Library - 441 Prairie Ave, Providence, RI 02905
  • Knight Memorial Library - 275 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI 02907
  • Washington Park Library - 1316 Broad St, Providence, RI 02905
  • Smith Hill Library - 31 Candace St, Providence, RI 02908
  • Fox Point Library - 90 Ives St, Providence, RI 02906
  • Olneyville Library - 1 Olneyville Square, Providence, RI 02909
  • Mount Pleasant Library - 315 Academy Ave, Providence, RI 02908
  • Wanskuck Library - 233 Veazie St, Providence, RI 02904

Want to be a community partner location? Contact us at greenteam@rwpzoo.org.

Learn more about Eco-Cell

ECO-CELL was founded in 2003 and is a small, family owned and operated business in Louisville Kentucky that is 100% focused on the environment. Nearly 1 MILLION cell phones later and they are still at it. 

"Electronics have a tremendous impact on the planet, more so than any other consumer product. A single smartphone requires 13 tons of water and 18M² of land to create! By extending the lifespan of technology using modular design and reclaiming the precious metals in gadgets we can create new markets and jobs, reduce stress on the environment, and deter toxic waste from our landfills." ECO-CELL

It is estimated that 1.5 billion smartphones are sold worldwide annually. According to the EPA, less than 20 percent 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 than 11 million phones are added to that total each month.


  • ECO-CELL reuses first and then recycles because it takes a TON of energy and resources to create an electronic device. Plus, its best for the environment if they use it until it is obsolete. Once a device is determined to be "end of life" Eco-Cell recycles it properly with certified smelting and reclamation firms AKA "The Downstream".