Cell Phone Recycling at the Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo provides 100% landfill free cell phone recycling services to individual schools, community groups, corporate environments and many other partners across Ontario.

The Toronto Zoo has provided cell phone recycling services since 2006. Our program was awarded top honors among North American zoos, aquaria and wildlife organizations in 2007 and 2009. The Toronto Zoo remains the most trusted cell phone recycler in the Greater Toronto Area & throughout Ontario.


Answer the call of the wild and recycle your cell phones with Phone Apes and the Toronto Zoo

  1. Drop phones off on your next Toronto Zoo visit!

    On site drop off locations:
    • Guest Relations, front entrance
    • Education/volunteer centre
    • Administrative Building -361A Old Finch Avenue
    • Western Lowland Gorilla habitat, African Rainforest Pavilion

  2. Mail phones to:
    Toronto Zoo - Cell Phone Recycling Program C/O Manager, Conservation Programs & Environment, 361A Old Finch Avenue Toronto, Ontario M1B 5K7

  3. Email us for other arrangements
    [email protected]
  4. Drop phones off to a collection box near you!

    Partnership with the City of Toronto, there are a number of permanent collection boxes are located at:

    City Hall
    100 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

    East York Civic Centre
    850 Coxwell Ave., East York, ON M4C 5R1

    Etobicoke Civic Centre
    399 The West Mall, Etobicoke, ON M9C 2Y2

    Metro Hall
    55 John St., Toronto, ON M5V 3C6

    North York Civic Centre
    5100 Yonge St., North York ON

    Scarborough Civic Centre
    150 Borough Drive, Scarborough, ON M1P 4N7

    York Civic Centre
    2700 Eglinton Ave., York, ON M6M 1V1

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Cell Phone Recycling

Cell phone recycling encourages responsible waste management of electronic materials. The e-waste sector is growing rapidly and the impacts include illegal and irresponsible mining, landfill restrictions and overuse, health problems in developing countries. Recycling of cell phones, and other small electronic devices helps reclaim valuable metals and reduces environmental social impacts.

How does cell phone recycling help conserve Gorillas and their habitats?

Coltan is a metallic ore used to produce the element tantalum. Tantalum, used in a light weight metal powder form, is able to hold a very high electrical charge. This makes it a vital element in creating the capacitors that control electric flow inside miniature circuit boards. Tantalum capacitors are used in almost all cell phones, laptops, pagers and other electronic devices.

Coltan is most concentrated, and therefore most easily mined, in the rainforests of the former Republic of the Congo. Unfortunately, the endangered Lowland Gorilla also calls this spot home. By recycling old cell phones, tantalum can be re-used; lessening the demand to mine pure coltan in the Congo.

What happens to the other metals and parts of the phone?

All base elements, including arsenic and mercury, are refined out and reused via the commodities market.

Is my phone being recycled responsibly?

YES! The Toronto Zoo is serious about global protection of the environment, human impact and the socio-economic impact of e-waste disposal. When assessing a new recycling partner, we looks for companies that are certified to the highest standards for operational and recycling excellence including R2-Responsible Recycling Practices, ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004, OHSAS 18001, ERRP and RQP.We also consider companies with local processing and recycling facilities to ensure all equipment is processed in Ontario and not sent overseas and base elements are sold using the local commodities market. Toronto Zoo is proud to partner with Greentec for all PhoneApes recycling. To learn more about the current recycler for our PhoneApes Cellphone program, please visit www.greentec.com.

Is it safe to donate my phone?

YES! Please remember to discontinue all service plans and wipe off all personal data! We provide 100% confidentiality and remove any data remaining on the phone.

Where are funds donated?

All money raised will go towards the field conservation for Great Apes. Projects supported by the PhoneApes program have included: Goualougo Triangle Ape Project: Securing the Future of Gorillas and Chimpanzees in a Changing Landscape. Ape Action Africa: Mefou National Park, Mbeli Bai Gorilla Study, Nouabale-Ndoki Forest Reserve, Republic of Congo.

How many phones has the Toronto Zoo collected?

The Toronto Zoo has collected 53,500 phones between 2007 and 2021.

How do I get my own collection box?

We will provide your Ontario-based classroom, school, company or organization with your very own Phone Apes cell phone collection box & marketing material. Simply send us a request to [email protected]

Can an individual person donate their old phone?

YES! If you want to donate your old cellphones but are not near any collection location, you can drop your phone off directly at the Zoo at one of three locations listed above, or mail your old phone(s) to Conservation Programs & Environment, Toronto Zoo, 361A Old Finch Ave, Toronto, ON M1B 5K7.

Does the Toronto Zoo collect any other electronic waste in addition to cellular phones?

YES! To expand the awareness about the electronic industry and help support gorilla conservation in the wild, the Toronto Zoo along with their partners will host 1 to 2 E-waste Collection days at the Drop-off Loop for the Toronto Zoo.  These events will be advertised on the Toronto Zoo’s Events Calendar.

Does the Toronto Zoo accept electronic waste any day of the year?

NO! Due to the size of other electronic items (TV, computer, monitor, laptop, radio, etc.), the Zoo will only accept general e-waste on the day of an E-waste Collection Event.  The PhoneApes partner supports these e-waste collection days by picking up all donated items at the end of the event. The Toronto Zoo does not have the storage space to collect and hold these items for long periods of time.

Other ways you can help protect gorillas and their habitat:

Green Tec