ITHACA, N.Y. –– After receiving an extreme volume of goods over the last few months, Finger Lakes ReUse announced it has temporarily closed its donation drop-off areas at both the Ithaca ReUse Center and the Triphammer ReUse MegaCenter until July at the earliest.

“Right now, we have over 580 pallets of overflow materials –– roughly the equivalent of 400,000 reusable items,” a statement from the company says.

Shopping will remain open, uniterrupted.

Diane Cohen, the executive director of the ReUse Center said the pause on donations will help to, “protect our workers, create physically safer spaces, and process what you’ve given us.” According to Cohen, the massive influx of donations has cramped already overcrowded retail spaces and put added pressure on employees.

“The stress level became completely untenable for pretty much everyone in the organization,” she said.

Cohen added that on top of catching up with processing current donations, ReUse will use the pause time to plan for future overflow.

“Even before COVID, we were struggling with the volumes of materials and we were looking to continue to figure out how to expand our facility space to better handle these volumes of really good quality, valuable materials,” she said.

Possibilities for expansion include capitalizing on the ReUse Caboose and Training Center, looking for more warehouse spaces, reevaluating the types of materials in demand by the community and even creating a network of other recycling options for folks looking to get rid of their extra stuff.

“It’s going to be a community conversation around an overflow plan,” Cohen said.

For updates on reopening donations and to learn more about the ReUse Center visit the website here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com