According to the BIR president, it is up to recyclers and merchants to assist depict the business in a favorable light.
In a general assembly address at the BIR’s World Recycling Convention in late May in Barcelona, the president of the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) asked fellow members to “challenge misconceptions about what we do” to help clarify the resource and emissions savings achieved by recycling.
“We have allowed conventional ideas about the business to dominate over the years, and we have sold ourselves short in terms of our importance,” said BIR President Tom Bird during the occasion. “Now, more than ever, we as an industry must communicate to the world the critical role we play in preventing climate change and the environmental damage caused by the mining of fundamental raw materials.”
“We must not sleepwalk into even more restricted legislation,” Bird stressed. A genuinely global circular economy requires worldwide unrestricted commerce in recycled raw materials.”
Bird has previously warned of the “disastrous” repercussions of ideas for a considerably tighter EU Waste Shipment Regulation, which he claimed would damage not only Europe’s exporters but also importing enterprises all over the world. “This isn’t just a European issue; it’s occurring all throughout the world,” he explained.
“I would encourage you all to participate in this conversation, to tell the truth about our industry’s great talents and to confront misunderstandings about what we do,” Bird concluded. If we are to succeed, we must maintain our unity of purpose and voice.”
Bird remarked that 2021 delivered “strong trade conditions throughout the year as the globe struggled to return to some type of normalcy,” as he reviewed market developments. Unfortunately, he said, that sense of normalcy was “short-lived,” owing to the disastrous economic and political consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Global uncertainties, according to BIR Treasurer Andy Wahl of Atlanta-based TAV Holdings Inc., contributed to the world recycling organization’s decision to adopt a “prudent and conservative” budget for 2022, with a predicted deficit slightly higher than that of 2021.
Members’ ongoing support and the BIR secretariat’s care had guaranteed that expenditures were kept under control and membership numbers were maintained, according to Wahl. On a similar issue, 88 new member firms or national organizations joined the BIR since June of last year were formally ratified during the General Assembly in Barcelona. That figure was hailed by Bird as “simply excellent.”
The BIR’s financial statement for 2021 and budget plan for 2022, as well as an increase in membership dues for fiscal year 2023, all obtained approval from the General Assembly. It will be the first time since 2015 that dues have been raised.
By the end of the year, Wahl predicted a more positive picture, fuelled in part by what he called “outstanding” attendance figures for the Barcelona Convention: 1,300 people from more than 600 firms from more than 60 countries.
A few moments of quiet were observed during the General Assembly to commemorate the recent deaths of former BIR President Heinz de Fries and Ferrous Division board member Frank Heukeshoven. Bird stated that both will be deeply missed.
The BIR World Recycling Convention 2022 was held in Barcelona from May 22 to 25.