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 750 member companies from the private sector and 34 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,

It is a great honour and privilege to lead a global organisation that extends to every corner of this planet.

As I am starting my mandate as BIR President, I am reminded of the famous words of Mahatma Gandhi, who said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi believed that this could only be achieved if you lose yourself in the service of others.

The goals and vision of BIR match perfectly these words of Gandhi.

Certainly, BIR loses itself not only in serving its members but also in promoting recycling throughout the global environmental community.

All our past presidents have continually endeavoured to deliver the best for BIR and its members.  I wish to thank each and every one of them for their invaluable contributions, and in particular our immediate Past President Björn Grufman.

I know that it will be a difficult and challenging task to maintain the very high standards my predecessors have set, but I am sure that with your support, our excellent Executive Committee, our Director General and a very efficient Secretariat in Brussels, we shall together deliver the BIR vision.

Demands of the digital age bring with it all the challenges of modern communications – such as tweeting, social media and increased BIR presence across the internet, which I consider necessary to allow BIR to increase their connectivity with our young members and executives of today, who will grow to be our leaders of tomorrow.

Reducing carbon emissions is a prerequisite for the protection of our climate, and recycling does exactly that. Since 2000 we have saved over 10 billion tons of carbon emissions, and at a time when CO2 levels are rising this has both economic and ecological effects. Pollution has no boundaries, and therefore the reduction of carbon emissions has truly benefitted the planet Earth.

So one can ask the question as to why recycling is not part of the climate change discussions. Yet we see little or no mention of our industry’s contributions. I want to change this.

Regional bodies within Europe, outside Europe, ISRI, CRRA, MRAI, BMR – to name a few – are all doing sterling work within their own regions, but I would like to build on and extend our current co-operation to ensure that BIR helps in delivering a global message, common to all. To achieve this I would like to work together in promoting a Global Recycling Day.

I was pleased to learn of the Indian Prime Minister’s initiative called “Swatch Bharat”, a campaign which will help reduce waste and promote recycling, and of Expo 20/20, which his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will be hosting in Dubai, our recent convention venue. I would like BIR members to contribute in helping to make Expo 20/20 the ‘greenest Expo ever’ and also participate in promoting the Swatch Bharat Campaign in India.

We must all work together and be the agents of change in promoting the message that recyclables must be provided with free passage globally, with minimum legislative controls and Trade barriers. We must work together to ensure that both the volumes and quality of recyclables are enhanced and that recycling is always kept at the forefront of all climate change discussions.

Ranjit Baxi
BIR President