A Waterville-based nonprofit organization that refurbishes and recycles old tech products has reopened its community recycling center after shutting it down due to coronavirus concerns.

The organization — Give IT. Get IT. — has a self-serve and drop off building at 60 Industrial St. for businesses, schools and households looking to donate used electronics to be properly recycled.  

Chris Martin, pictured April 21, is a cofounder of a Waterville-based nonprofit — Give IT. Get IT. — at 60 Industrial St., where computers are refurbished for low-income families, students and others. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

After the coronavirus pandemic began to increase in severity in March, the company decided to close down the public recycling center to abide by social distancing guidelines and limit the contact with materials from outside sources, according to Chris Martin, co-founder of Information Technology Exchange, the nonprofit’s parent company.

“The reality is we had to shut that down right now, we can’t have people going in and out,” Martin said during a phone call on April 25. 

But now, the gradual reopening of the state has prompted the nonprofit to open its recycling center back up to the public.

The center, located in a shed in front of the building, is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for drop-offs of televisions, desktop printers, monitors and set-top boxes such as cable or satellite boxes, network gear, VCRs and game consoles. 

Items such as stereo equipment, computers, mobile devices and batteries that could be refurbished and reused can be accepted in the main facility on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

“Just call 872-2615 when you arrive at the facility and our staff will assist you,” Martin wrote in a prepared statement. “We ask that visitors please respect these limitations by only dropping off acceptable materials in the appropriately marked containers, or on the proper day/time for that item. We want to encourage proper management of these environmentally unfriendly materials, but can only continue to offer this community service if everyone does their part.” 

Dean Simpson of Give IT. Get IT. — a Waterville-based nonprofit company — is magnified through a glass as he prepares an eBay ad for a computer at the Waterville facility April 21. Simpson said the magnifier is used to read printed information on the computers they list that is then used preparing the ad. The company refurbishes computers for low-income families, students and others. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

The recycling organization was formed in December 2018 after two of Information Technology Exchange’s programs, PC’s for Maine and eWaste Alternatives, merged to form a “one-stop-shop” for affordable and accessible technology.

In addition to its community recycling center, the organization collects used computers and electronics from businesses such as IDEXX Laboratories, Sappi and Bangor Savings Bank, destroys the data and recycles the nonreusable materials. Reusable materials are then refurbished into low or no cost computers.

In April, Martin put out a call to action for businesses to donate equipment so the company could refurbish and donate computers to Mainers confined to their homes due to the coronavirus.

Martin’s mission with Information Technology Exchange and its programs is to close the “digital divide” in Maine, which has been highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic with school districts statewide opting for distance learning and businesses ordering employees to work from home.

Most of the individuals who receive products or services from the organization are those within 200% of the federal poverty level who don’t already have a computer and are trying to achieve an educational, employment or personal improvement goal, according to Martin.

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