It began as a timely idea. In 1990 businessman and activist Jim Sloan approached his friend Bob Boxwell, a longtime conservationist and former Nanaimo City Administrator, about creating a new recycling depot that would fill the many voids in the recycling programs of the day. Jim suggested start-up funding be obtained and that Bob serve as Administrator. An ideal location at 2214 McCullough Road in central Nanaimo was secured. A prominent British Columbia environmental organization, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, provided financial support and in September, the WCWC Recycling Depot opened for business.
Soon the City of Nanaimo was on board with core funding of $10,000 per month and in March 1992 the founding general meeting of the Hub City Recycling Society was held. Later that year the name was officially changed to the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange Society, now usually referred to simply as “the NRE”.