About BIR

Founded in 1948, BIR was the first federation to support the interests of the recycling industry on an international scale. Today, BIR represents over 760 member companies from the private sector and 36 national associations in more than 70 countries. Together, these members form the largest international recycling federation.

The federation provides a dynamic forum for its members to share their knowledge and experience. It serves as a platform to establish successful business relations and to promote recycling among other industrial sectors and policy makers.

BIR is a non-profit organisation under Belgian law. Their statutes (Articles of Association) and Internal Regulations (including Guidelines for Chairpersons) were revised and approved in April 2016. The registered office is currently headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

Our Mission

The Bureau of International Recycling promotes materials recycling and facilitates free and fair trade of recyclables in a sustainable and competitive world economy.

Other key goals of BIR and its members are:

  • To speak as one voice representing the international recycling industries globally;
  • To raise public awareness of their economic and environmental contributions such as the reduction of energy consumption and of greenhouse emissions;
  • To promote free trade, the environmentally sound management of resources and the use of recycled materials worldwide;
  • To encourage manufacturers to design products with a better understanding of the possibilities for recycling;
  • To provide its members with a proper forum to discuss issues of importance to the international recycling community;
  • To provide its members, through arbitration, with a fast and efficient means to resolve commercial disputes.

Areas of Work

BIR offers its members timely information about the international recycling markets, their legislative context and the latest technologies. Its work is structured according to the following commodity divisions:

and commodity committees


A Word from BIR President Ranjit Baxi



Dear BIR members,

2015 will be remembered in our industry as one of the most testing periods for all of us, a period in which demand and profitability both suffered.

Global trade continued to fluctuate with some Western and emerging economies showing a steady decline in demand and consumption while a few economies continued to post a slow, sustained recovery.

The importance of recycling continued to gain centre stage in several countries, with many of them able to increase their collection rates. With increasing collection and weakening demand, we also saw a reduction in global trading volumes of recyclables which, all in all, made 2015 a very challenging year for our members.

In the middle of this, I was asked to take up the BIR President’s baton from Björn Grufman. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all our BIR members for giving me this honour of representing our global organisation as your President. I accepted this job with great humility and pride at the trust all of you have bestowed upon me. I must also thank our outgoing President for his valued contributions.

In 2015, we not only had to navigate through a challenging year but also had to face the increasing legislative controls imposed upon us. Working together with all our members, I shall continue our endeavour to promote free and fair trade of recyclables and strengthen our position of being not only the world’s leading suppliers of raw materials but also an organisation whose members are the world’s leading climate change ambassadors through the carbon emission reductions our industry delivers.

Every year, our industry is responsible for a reduction of more than 700 million tonnes in carbon emissions across all commodities and recycling sectors. As a matter of fact, our recently-conducted update of the BIR report on the environmental benefits of recycling (see case study in this Annual Report) reveals annual carbon emission savings of 572 million tonnes for aluminium, copper and ferrous metals alone. This great contribution that we are all making to a greener planet needs to be recognised. The BIR secretariat is endeavouring to bring recycling to the forefront of the next climate change conference.

Recycling needs to grow globally and must not remain the luxury of the Western economies or a few emerging economies. To do this, we need not only to promote recycling awareness and education but also to improve and promote the knowhow of our industry globally. To help spread this message, we are proposing to organise a Global Recycling Day. Working together with the BIR secretariat and the Executive Committee supported by all our members, we aim to deliver this message globally and promote such a day hopefully by 2017.

For the BIR secretariat and the Executive Committee to continue serving your industry, we constantly need your support in terms of the time that you give us, the financial support you offer both as members of BIR and by attending our conventions, and above all by continuing to be our honourable Green Ambassadors with all the work that you continue doing. On behalf of the Executive Committee, I wish to thank you wholeheartedly for your support and look forward to working together as a Global Recycling Family.

I wish also to thank the BIR secretariat on behalf of all BIR members for its excellent work and continued support for our membership.

Finally, I look forward to 2016 - a year when, hopefully, our members can enjoy better, more sustained growth

Ranjit Baxi
BIR President