Those anticipating rushing out to buy the new iPhone 5 Sept. 21 will be faced with the dilemma of what to do with their old cell phones.
More than 800 million old cell phones are tossed into drawers and buried in closets each year because the owners don't know what else to do with a perfectly usabled cell phone they no longer need.
Another 140 million Americans simply throw them in the trash.
Meanwhile, there are dozens of charities seeking old cell phones. Here are some of them:
1. The Spring of Tampa Bay collects old cell phones and gets money for recycling them, which helps support its programs for victims of domestic violence. All donations can be dropped off at 209 N. Willow Ave., Tampa.
2. Cell Phones for Soldiers provides deployed troops with cost-free methods to communicate with family while serving in the United States military. Each donated device valued at $5 will provide troops with 2.5 hours of free talk time.
Hillsborough County participates in the program by sending surplus county cell phones, and phones collected in drop boxes located at 10 county facilities:
- Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico
- Brandon Regional Service Center, 311 Pauls Dr., Brandon
- Carrollwood Cultural Center, 4537 Lowell Rd., Tampa
- County Center Lobby, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa
- Jan K. Platt Regional Library, 3910 S. Manhattan Ave., Tampa
- Jimmy B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa
- New Tampa Regional Library, 10001 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa
- SouthShore Regional Library, 15616 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin
- SouthShore Regional Service Center, 410 30th St. SE, Ruskin
- Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library, 11211 Countryway Blvd., Tampa.
3. You also can donate your old cell phones to help Tampa Bay area agencies provide senior citizens with free emergency cell phones. The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas collects donated cell phones, which are tested, charged and distributed to senior citizens in the community.
4. The Hillsborough County SALT Council also provides emergency cell phones to economically disadvantaged seniors in the community who do not have a home phone and would otherwise not be able to summons help in an emergency. Contact the SALT Council at 813-247-0548.
5. Phones 4 Charity is a national program designed to remove used cell phones from the country's environment while directly benefiting charitable organizations. Its cell phone recycling program is designed to help charities raise funds.
6. 911 Cell Phone Bank works with more than 1,000 law enforcement and victim-abuse groups nationwide to provide emergency 911 cell phones to those in need including victims of abuse and senior citizens.
7. GRC offers businesses and individuals the opportunity to donate cell phones to benefit GRC's nonprofit partners. In addition, its “Cell Phone Fundraising” program offers nonprofits, schools and community groups the opportunity to raise money through cell phone recycling.
Do you know of other organizations collecting cell phones? Be sure to note them in the "Comments" section.