Recycling Manufacturing Waste

Partnering up to cut waste and cost.

Whatcom County is lucky to have such a diverse and strong economy. Our corner of the earth is home to businesses, non-profits, enterprises, schools, and groups of all types. We’re especially lucky to have a booming manufacturer presence. Local manufacturers have made great strides towards eliminating waste from their production. Luckily, there is always room for improvement and we are eager to help.

In 2014, we learned that local manufacturers were struggling to recycle their leftover materials, or by-products. A member of The RE Store staff reached out to our partners at Itek Energy to see if we could help. Due to their extensive warranty policy with strict and exacting quality standards, Itek was forced to dispose of tons of slightly-imperfect solar panel glass, every single month. We came up with a solution together that allowed us to make this near-perfect glass available to the community at discounted prices. Check out this blog post to learn more about solar panel glass and it’s uses. In the time since the first pallet arrived at our warehouse, Itek has saved tens of thousands of dollars in labor and disposal costs, The RE Store has generated more than $100,000 for in-house displaced worker job training, and through our work together, we’ve been able to divert 118,000 pounds of solar glass from the landfill. What’s more, in early 2018 we identified a handful of other items for diversion, including steel drums, pallets, and cardboard boxes for future diversion.

Our partnership with Itek was such a huge success that we reached out to other manufacturers. An informal survey identified multiple high-value products that were currently being sent to the landfill every day. These include materials that can easily be reused, such as pre-fabricated furniture parts, orphaned cabinet pieces, pre-cast stone and concrete products, and dimensional lumber shipping and packaging components.

In light of these survey results, and in an effort to lessen the burden on local manufacturers of paying for disposal and associated labor costs, The RE Store formally launched a new program called Manufacturing Waste Diversion. Today, Manufacturing Waste Diversion supports a growing number of local manufacturers in their efforts to reduce their environmental impact. After initial contact with manufacturers, our staff perform waste audits to identify materials that are well suited for reuse. Materials are then sold at The RE Store to community members for pennies on the dollar. Manufacturer donations are eligible to be written off as non-profit donations with a tax receipt, further offsetting disposal and labor costs.

Manufacturing Waste Diversion is supported in part through a $100,000 3-year grant awarded by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, WA. The grant will enable The RE Store to support local manufacturers in sustainably managing their by-product. M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.


The process of creation almost always involves leftover material. Manufacturing waste, or by-product, is most commonly disposed of in the landfill. Each year, manufacturers in the United States send 7.6 billion tons of useable material to the landfill — that’s equivalent to throwing all the homes in Bellingham into the landfill, twice.

We’ve launched a free program to help local manufacturers save money and keep their by-product out of the landfill.

We provide assessments for local manufacturers to creatively make use of their leftover materials. The goal is to identify materials that have little or no value to you and your customers, but may have demand in a different market.  The process is free and easy, and takes less than an hour. Our staff will:

  • Evaluate your current procedures for disposal of manufacturing waste and recyclable material,
  • Identify materials that may be diverted from the landfill,
  • Determine which waste materials could be diverted and how often,
  • Evaluate tipping and labor savings associated with divertable waste materials,
  • Determine if regular material pickups are needed.

If we find products that may be a good fit for The RE Store, we’ll implement a plan to start maximizing cost savings. By sending manufacturing by-product to us, manufacturers will be able to:

  • Lower disposal costs,
  • Save labor on processing,
  • Free-up valuable warehouse and storage space,
  • Receive a tax write-off for the donated materials.

Manufacturing waste can be anything that is excess, imperfect, or simply unwanted such as: packing materials, cabinet doors, spools, pallets, sheets of glass, and more. Give us a call if you have any of the following:

  • Raw materials that are discarded during the manufacturing process,
  • By-products created during the manufacturing process,
  • Packing and shipping materials that result from the use of manufacturing input materials,
  • Defective products that are a result of manufacturing output,
    Products that have been overproduced or need extra processing to meet current product standards.

We currently do regular pickups of unwanted items from a variety of local manufacturers.

We also do one-time pickups with manufacturers to clear out backstock materials.

Take Action

Be a part of changing the world


We rely on word-of-mouth to connect with manufacturers in order to help them reduce their landfill waste. Please share this page with your network. 


Tim O’Donnell, Program Development Manager

Phone: (360) 647-5921

Our Location:

2309 Meridian St.
Bellingham, WA 98225




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Manufacturing Waste Diversion is supported in part by grant funding. With your help, we can pick up where the grant left off to make a bigger impact. Please consider giving a monetary gift today.