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


End of year message from BIR President Ranjit S. Baxi



Dear BIR members,

2017 has been a year full of challenges continually testing our members and the recycling industry’s resolve to pull through these obstacles.

Having been associated with our industry now for over 40 years, I never doubted the strength and wisdom of our colleagues who I knew would together overcome the challenges thrown at them.

We started the year with the shipping lines embarking on a mission to increase sea freight at an alarming rate by nearly 500% in a span of 6 months whilst some lines were facing bankruptcy or mergers. With tightening container space we had no option but to absorb these costs which greatly affected both our export sales and profitability.

Just as we were getting to grips with the freight situation, China announced the implementation of the National Sword policy to inspect 100% of all recyclables arriving in China during the month of July, resulting in many thousands of arriving containers being held up at the ports.

At the same time, Chinese importers were facing difficulties in getting additional licence allocations for some categories of recyclables which also had a direct effect on our exports to China.

Whilst we were trying to adapt our sales and quality standards to meet with the new requirements, we then learnt in July from WTO of the Chinese announcement proposing a revision of the total allowable contamination to be reduced to 0.3% , a level neither possible to implement nor easy to control on arrival.

I am pleased to report that the BIR Secretariat was working closely with all its members and supported by the various national recycling associations were able to present several submissions to WTO and the Chinese authorities, stressing that these levels were very low and difficult to both deliver and control.

BIR Director General Arnaud Brunet also visited China to present the case. He suggested that a time period of up to 12 months be allowed for recycling companies to endeavour to try and see ways of improving quality standards so as to meet the very low contamination threshold.

We now understand that our pleas have been considered and the Chinese government is considering to increase the allowable contamination level from 0.3 to 0.5%  to be applied for all arrivals as of the 01st of March 2018. We believe that a formal notification will be made before the year end.

Supported by the strong domestic demand of the Western economies, I have seen our members opening new markets (both domestic and abroad) , and are doing so very successfully. I wish you all success in diversifying into new markets, which are so important for continued sustained growth of our industry.

With this in mind, BIR has for the first time in its almost 70-year history, hosted two overseas conventions this year in Hong Kong and New Delhi. The purpose of doing so was primarily to give our delegates the opportunity  to interact with a new widening base of customers. Hong Kong turned out to be very successful and the event in New Delhi will forever be remembered by those who were there as one of the most stunning conventions ever.

The Hon. Prime Minister Modi of India also sent us a welcoming message for our convention. We had over 200 delegates from India, which was the highest number of participants ever to attend from a host country.  Many of them had never been to a BIR convention before, and we will certainly reap many new members as a result. I would like to thank in particular the Indian BIR Ambassadors for their support in making Delhi a great success, with my special thanks going out to Mr Sudhir Aggarwal , President of IICA, for his sterling work and support.

Finally, I want to thank all our members, associations and Founding Sponsors for helping to promote my vision of having a Global Recycling Day. I announced my wish to create a Global Recycling Day in May 2015 in Dubai on the inauguration of my Presidency and now to see that on 18/3/2018 we shall all be celebrating Global Recycling Day is certainly owed to all of you.

I want this to be a day for our environmental fraternity to celebrate with pride and also to share our recycling story with civil society, media and political decision makers.

Our contributions to global GDP, employment and waste reduction, which indirectly also controls human health, our contributions to help meet some of the UN 2030 sustainable goals by promoting the Seventh Resource, i.e.  recyclables, and above all annually saving over 700 million tons of CO2 emissions, must be shared and recognised globally. This is our success story of the immense contributions we have made over many years, so be proud to share your story.

Following the launch of the GRD website, we are now launching our Manifesto and have written letters requesting support of the G20 leaders and several other stakeholders.

The BIR Secretariat is working very hard to make 18/3/2018 a very special day for all of us.  A lot more needs to be done till then, so I ask you all to keep supporting and doing as requested by the multiple emails that will be sent out over the next 12 weeks.

2018 will also be marked as a very special year for all of us being our 70th anniversary. I am looking forward to celebrating this together with all of you during our World Recycling Convention in Barcelona (28-30 May 2018).

I wish you all a great start to 2018 and make sure you all find time to celebrate the forthcoming festivities and welcome the New Year together with your family and loved ones.

Yours sincerely,

Ranjit S. Baxi
BIR President