Founded in 1948, BIR was the first federation to support the interests of the recycling industry on an international scale. Today, BIR represents over 850 member companies from the private sector and 40 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 were revised and approved in October 2010. The registered office is currently headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
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 committies
A Word from BIR President Björn Grufman
Clearly, 2011 was a year in which many momentous events occurred around the globe. And for the recycling industry, it was the year in which, after decades of lobbying, we were finally given the possibility within Europe of extracting ourselves from the waste regime. End-of-waste criteria have already been introduced for iron, steel and aluminium scrap, and the industry’s efforts to secure a similar result for copper and recovered paper are well advanced at the time of writing. In the future, we might see similar legislative developments in other BIR member countries and regions of the world.
I am very proud of having been elected President of BIR in Singapore last May. I have had the privilege of holding representative positions within BIR for many years, and also of being its Treasurer between 2008 and 2011. That experience has given me an extensive knowledge of our organisation, and I believe that I understand what is expected by our members.
With great humility, and together with members of the Executive Committee and the rest of BIR’s leadership, I am dedicating myself to furthering the development of our organisation. BIR is the world organisation for the recycling industry. I believe that we have a very important task in continuing the good work, mainly through our secretariat in Brussels, to secure recognition from global society for our role as the organisation representing “the future leading raw material suppliers”.
BIR has many important member organisations in many countries throughout the world that are actively contributing to making BIR the voice of the global recycling industry.
BIR was formed more than 60 years ago and, over the intervening decades, has been developed by a host of highly-talented recycling industry representatives. As President, I recognise that I have the responsibility to ensure the continuation of that development: for example, we need to increase our membership; we need to expand that membership to other parts of the world; and we need to ensure BIR’s leadership ranks contain representatives from as many different regions of the world as possible.
The global recycling industry must be allowed the scope to develop - and with a healthy measure of profitability - in order to continue to make its important contribution to the sustainable society of the future. If the leaders of the world are provided with information that underlines the importance of our industry and therefore appreciate the need to encourage its development, our vital role in this sustainable society of the future will be assured.
We shall make BIR the natural voice of the industry. We shall continue to develop our Conventions as the best networking opportunities available to the industry. We shall provide our membership with accurate and highly useful information. And above all, we shall continue to support our members wherever our help is needed.