ECO-CELL Recycling Program

ECO-CELL Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ECO-CELL recycling program?

The ECO-CELL recycling program helps reduce the demand or coltan, an ore used to extend battery life in phones and other handheld devices. Coltan mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo destroy forest habitats critical to endangered species. For more information, visit their website here.

What can I recycle through ECO-CELL? 

Cell phones, smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, adapters, chargers, MP3 players, handheld gaming systems, and the accessories that come with them. Our collection container cannot hold anything larger than a cell phone. Please leave your larger items at the gift shop and they will be taken care of. 

Items not accepted include laptops, portable CD players, and digital cameras. 

Where is the collection container located?

The ECO-CELL donation bin is conveniently located in the Sunset Zoo gift shop. 

How am I investing in conservation?

You're about to make a double impact! Sunset Zoo sends handheld electronics to ECO-CELL, a family-run company in Louisville, Kentucky, to be refurbished or recycled. ECO-CELL then pays between $0.25 and $15 for each device. By recycling through this program, you are 1) reducing the demand for mining virgin materials and, 2) every dollar received from ECO-CELL goes directly into the Puerto Rican Crested Toad bread and release program. 

What do I need to consider before donating?

There are two things to do before donating your device, especially cell phones. First, remove any SIM or SD cards. Second, wipe the phone clean. ECO-CELL does not clear data from the phones it receives. 

Can I get more if I resell or trade in my phone?

Yes, But in addition to investing in conservation efforts, here are a few reasons your recycled phone can have a greater impact than trade-in value:

  • Handheld electronics include a variety of precious metals, copper and plastics. Recycling not only conserves these materials, it also reduces greenhouse has emissions that occur during manufacturing and while extracting and processing virgin materials.
  • Recycling just one cell phone saves enough energy to provide power to a laptop for 44 hours. 
  • If we recycled 130 million cell phones that are tossed away annually in the US, we could save enough energy to power more than 24,000 homes for a year. 
  • For every one million cell phones recycled, the following can be recovered:
    • 75 pounds of gold 
    • 772 pounds of silver 
    • 22 pounds of palladium 
    • 35,274 pounds of copper 
    • Tin, zinc, and platinum that can also be reused
  • Cell phones and other devices also container hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and brominated flame retardants. If tossed in landfills, these materials can contaminate air, soil and groundwater. 

How can we scale this for my business?

If you are an individual, you can drop off your devises at the donation bin located in the gift shop. 

If you are a small business, we can arrange to have the items picked up and brought to the Zoo to include in the overall shipment. 

If you are a large business, we can make arrangements for you to send your handheld electronics directly to ECO-CELL on Sunset Zoo's behalf. Shipping is paid for by ECO-CELL and the rebate would come directly to the zoo for the Puerto Rican Crested Toad conservation. 


For any other questions, please call Sunset Zoo at 785-587-2737 or email SunsetZoo@cityofmhk.com and ask for Jayna.