About Us

40 years of mobilizing, making change, and protecting our Pacific Northwest home.

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Founded in 1982, RE Sources is a nonprofit organization working to protect the environment and communities of the central Salish Sea region and our climate. We catalyze community action to build a lasting legacy for all of us — clean water, protected shorelines, an end to dangerous fossil fuel projects, and recovery for orcas and salmon.

Based in Bellingham, Washington, we are a team of trusted and time-tested environmental advocates, educators and scientists. RE Sources gives people practical ways to make a real difference for the planet, from passing stronger laws that protect the environment and empowering youth voices, to holding corporate polluters accountable, reducing waste and our own carbon footprint. We do this through smart policy, grassroots mobilization, hands-on science and environmental education.

Our deep roots and broad connections in our region allow us to inspire and mobilize history-making numbers of people to protect the beauty and bounty of the region.

Our Mission

We promote sustainable communities and protect the health of northwestern Washington’s people and ecosystems through application of science, education, advocacy and action.

Photo by Buff Black

Photo: Buff Black

Our Vision

Our vision is that together we can recover endangered populations of fish, whales, and other wildlife, and maintain shellfish beds clean enough for regular harvest. We can restore and protect our rivers, lakes, beaches, and the Salish Sea so there is enough clean water for all who need it. We can accelerate a just transition to renewable energy, moderate consumerism and wastefulness, and build up resilient communities who can work together and care for one another despite differences. If we really work hard, we can have a stable climate that sustains abundant life.

RE Sources stands against racism, white supremacy, and injustice and the ingrained structures and institutions that enable and perpetuate them. Indigenous, Black and other communities of color, as well as low income families and children, are disproportionately harmed by environmental degradation and climate change. We envision a future where every person benefits from clean energy, less pollution and thriving outdoor places.

Photo by Buff Black

Photo: Buff Black

Our Beginnings

In the early 1980s, a small group of local residents got together around a kitchen table one evening to discuss their shared frustration with the lack of neighborhood recycling services. In those days, one had to load up one’s recyclables and take them to a drop-off site at Western Washington University. This meant that very few county residents were recycling.

These kitchen-table recyclers soon learned that other towns around the country had begun to offer curbside pick-up of recyclables, and so they tried to convince the City of Bellingham to offer a similar service. Their initial efforts failed, but that didn’t stop them. Instead, they offered curbside pickup themselves. Three target neighborhoods were identified, and flyers were distributed. Although many people were skeptical and thought the fledgling community-led program would never get off the ground, it did. In fact, by 1985, Bellingham Community Recycling (BCR) had expanded its operations to cover ten neighborhoods, owned its own truck and employed a paid crew. Moreover, BCR had begun to conduct programs in the schools designed to teach students the ABC’s of recycling.

In 1989, after the community proved it could be done, the City of Bellingham began offering curbside recycling to all city residents. Shortly thereafter, in 1991, Whatcom County followed suit, making it the first county in the state to offer curbside recycling—an impressive feat given the program’s informal and modest start. Even today, three decades later, the unwavering commitment and dedication of that small group of volunteers continues to infuse the work of the present-day RE Sources.

Our Approach

We make it our job to understand the complex public processes and policies that can be harnessed to protect our environment. We then distill it into clear information, work collaboratively regionally and across sectors, and channel community concerns into real action that makes an environmental difference now. Learn more about what tools RE Sources uses (and does not use) to activate the community, advocate for sound environmental policy, educate voters and more.

We empower the people who live here to do all they can to protect our home. Our organization provides individuals with the tools they need to safeguard our marine and fresh waters and air. Our staff oversee a number of programs that help educate all ages, reduce air and water pollution, and encourage waste reduction and recycling.

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Haven't had a chance to give yet? Make the most of our dollar-for-dollar challenge match. A joyful future is 100% possible with your support, and your gift today will go twice as far. 

Photo by Eric Creitz