“Over the years, we have allowed stereotypical views of the industry to prevail and have sold ourselves short in terms of our importance,” stated Tom Bird, President, BIR, in his address to the world recycling organisation’s latest General Assembly, held on 24th May. “We as an industry, now more than ever, need to convey to the world the essential role we play in protecting the planet from climate change and the environmental damage caused by the extraction of primary raw materials.”
“We must not sleepwalk into ever more restrictive legislation,” he insisted to delegates in Barcelona. “Global free trade in recycled raw materials is essential for a truly global Circular Economy.”
Earlier, Bird had highlighted the potentially ‘disastrous’ consequences of proposals for a significantly stricter EU Waste Shipment Regulation, which would directly affect not only Europe’s exporters but also importing businesses around the globe. “This is not just a European problem,” he underlined. “It’s happening in other parts of the world. I would urge you all to become involved in this debate, to promote the truth about our industry’s exceptional skills and to challenge misconceptions about what we do. Our unity of purpose and of voice remain crucial if we are to win through.”
Reviewing market developments, he said that 2021 had brought “strong trading conditions throughout the year as the world tried to return to some kind of normality”. Unfortunately, he lamented, that measure of normality had proved to be ‘short-lived’ – not least because of the negative economic and political effects of the Ukraine conflict.