Tackling Electronic Waste in Maine

Every day, our team of 16 employees works to keep unwanted electronics out of Maine’s landfills. Our work is important because while electronic waste (computers, televisions, printers, cell phones, etc.) comprises just 2-4% of landfill waste, it accounts for 90% of the harmful chemicals and heavy metals that end up in the ground, the air and our water supply.

My name is Chris Martin. I’m the co-founder and Operations Director at give IT. get IT. in Waterville, and I’m immensely grateful to the Natural Resources Council of Maine’s Sustainable Maine team for the opportunity to share our digital inclusion mission with folks who share my passion for Maine’s natural beauty and wild spaces.

In addition to offering a community electronics drop-off service to our neighbors in Waterville, we provide New England businesses with complete electronics reuse and recycling services. After picking up a load of technology from one of our “give IT” corporate partners, we bring it to our facility, where our team separates each device for data security, reuse, and e-waste. All the e-waste is separated by device type and shipped to actual scrap processors who have zero-landfill goals and reduce this material into refined metals and plastics for new manufactured goods.

Dee and his computer. Photo courtesy giveIT.getIT.

As critical as our waste diversion and electronics recycling work is, our primary motivation for doing it is to obtain the reusable devices we need to fulfill our nonprofit mission. Each year, we connect hundreds of people who are actively training for new careers but can’t afford computers with the technology, training, and support they need to attend classes or achieve certifications. We help single mothers like Diana, who needed a computer to take accounting classes, and disabled veterans like Dee, who needed a computer to take an Alternative Investments Certification course from Harvard University.

Helping people in need is what differentiates give IT. get IT. from every other electronics recycling company in New England. The retired and unwanted technology that every business generates over time does not have to be “e-wasted.” Instead, we can harvest it to create computing tools for thousands of people who need to “get IT” but do not have the skills or resources to do so conventionally. Since 2002, we’ve kept more than eight million pounds of surplus technology out of landfills and converted more than two million pounds of retired tech into new tools for people in need.

Thanks to our friends at NRCM, I’m here to ask a simple question: Where does your company’s unwanted tech go?

At give IT. get IT., we pick up surplus technology from all kinds of businesses—from two-person law offices to massive manufacturing companies with offices all over the world. Wherever the company you work for fits on this scale, we’d love to speak with the person in charge of dealing with your retired and unwanted technology.

Since the pandemic hit, demand for our “get IT” services is at an all-time high. Now more than ever, we need businesses to choose a reuse and recycle model instead of trashing e-waste– it’s great for our environment AND our community. As someone who values Maine’s environment, I’m asking for your support in the form of sharing our story with your professional network. If you have any questions about give IT. get IT.; please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at communications@itec3.org.

—by Chris Martin, co-founder and Operations Director, giveIT.getIT.

 



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