CARTM overflows with stuff, pausing to unclog

CARTM knew this day would come, but never imagined it would need to be at the beginning of the busy summer season. “We’ve run out of room!” said CARTM’s Executive Director Karen Reddick-Yurka. “Our community has been so generous, donating their reusable items that we have no space left to process anything else – for now. We moved a ton of wonderful stuff at our sidewalk sale in May, but the building is full again already! We must overhaul our donations building and processing systems now or we will burst at the seams.”

Beginning July 7, CARTM’s donations building will be closed for six weeks to undergo a much-needed renovation and systems upgrade. The recycling line, trash station and The Refindery will remain open, as usual, Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the overhaul.

“We realize that summer is the time people really go through their “stuff” and decide what to donate to CARTM to support our operations,” Karen continued. “Knowing this closure will impact people with large items, we will continue to accept a few categories of reusable items so our community can keep making space in their garages and homes.”

During the building closure, CARTM will accept ONLY: FURNITURE that is clean and immediately reusable (no pressboard, no entertainment centers or TV stands, mattresses or box springs); BOOKS (these are easy to process and sell quickly); and ELECTRONICS (computers, TVs, printers, keyboards, DVD/CD players, mice and peripherals).

“While we are paused next month, we encourage everyone to evaluate their discards. Consider dropping non-working small appliances in the metals recycling bin. Items that are chipped or broken, such as dishes, ceramic lamps or decorative items can be recycled in the rubble bin,” explained Karen. “If you’ve never thrown something into the rubble bin, it can be very therapeutic….”

CARTM counts on donations of reusable items to help fund its operations. “The community has come to count on our services and is so very generous in supporting CARTM. We are still a very lean operation for the tremendous amount of recycled and donated materials our staff processes weekly,” said Karen. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the staff to clean or repair donations, so we count on clean reusable items that are immediately resalable in The Refinery.”

Karen shared that part of the reason for the clog in the donations building is that items that actually belong in the trash or recycle bin are instead donated. “Most of our donors are very careful about what they bring to us for reuse. Even with that kind of careful attention, we typically have to send 3/4 to 2 tons of what comes in as “donations” to the landfill every month at CARTM’s expense. This costly expense hurts our budget and in the end it erodes our mission.”

CARTM’s Box Truck program is a very efficient way to donate reusable items for The Refindery. “For $20-$35 the truck will come to your home, assess your donations and pick up useful items,” said Karen. “The Box Truck is also an easy way to have Refindery purchases delivered right to your door for the same minimum charge.” A small additional fee is assessed beyond a 10-mile radius of CARTM.

“We respect and appreciate our community’s partnership in CARTM’s operation. It is what makes us a strong, sustainable local non-profit. I know the community is proud of CARTM, because they regularly tell me so,” Karen shared.

CARTM is celebrating 20 years of operations in north Tillamook County. For more information call 503-368-7764 or cartm.org.