This month's challenge was inspired by a recent trip my children and I took to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. While there, we noticed they're collecting, and then recycling, old cell phones. 

Apparently cell phones contain an ore, called Coltan, which is mined in endangered gorilla habitat in Africa.

Unfortunately, Coltan is a non-renewable resource and, with over 270 million cell phone users in the United States alone, it's become quite the commodity. (Especially since, on average, cell phone users purchase a new cell phone every 18 months!) 

I'm no exception; here's my collection of old cell phones. (Clearly, I prefer Apple products...the Blackberry was my husband's:).

While I don't typically carry my old cell phones around with me, I have accumulated quite a few over the years...and I'm guessing my neighbors have too! That's why this month's challenge is to help save the earth (and gorillas!) by collecting, and then recycling, old cell phones:

Here's how you can help:

1. Print a copy (or two!) of our notification letters for your neighbors.
2. Fill them out, adding your name and the date you plan to collect the old phones.
3. Deliver the letters to your neighbors, taping it to their front door or mailbox, a day or two before your scheduled pick-up day. (Giving your neighbors some advanced notice will give them time to find their old cell phones.
4. Go door-to-door collecting your neighbors' old cell phones.
5. Recycle them by:
  • Sending them to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden at 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45220
  • Taking them to your local Sprint store; to find one in your area, search for a location near you here.

If you're tight on time, consider donating a portion of your allowance to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens or the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

If you'd like to do more, organize a cell phone drive through your scouts or school! To aide in your efforts, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens has created some resources, like this poster. Together, with their partners at Gorilla Glue, they're offering participants the chance to win up to $5000! To learn more, click here.

 Thanks for completing this month's challenge with us, making memories with your children while making a difference in your community!

We'd love to see how many cell phones (and cell phone accessories, like charging cords) you're able to collect! Please share photos with us on Facebook and Instagram for a chance to be featured in our mid-month mailer.

@GivingFamilies #GivingFamilies 

If you'd like to receive next month's Good Mail Challenge, become a member. We'll deliver it straight to your mailbox. (Because kids LOVE getting mail!) 

And, for each NEW membership purchased during the month of April, we'll donate 10% of our proceeds to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens* (when new families join by clicking their logo below).

Looking for a unique gift idea? Send a gift membership!

*Know of an organization that could benefit from our nationwide network of giving families? Please tell us about them! Send an email to
Beth Nowak is a former Kindergarten teacher and mother of two who wanted to make memories with her children while making a difference in her community. Helping other parents do the same, she left the classroom to create Giving Families' Good Mail Challenges... fun and easy, family-friendly giveback activities that can be completed anytime, anywhere using materials readily available in most homes. To learn more and join the family, visit