Posted on 10/06/2008 in category Environment

 

PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 10 June 2008

2008World Recycling Convention &

BIR’s60thAnniversary Celebration

MonteCarlo, 2-4 June 2008



BIRstudy reveals:

ConsiderableCO2 saving through recycling

Recycling activity isresponsible forsaving well over 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions eachyear, according to research discussed at the InternationalEnvironment Council (IEC) meeting in Monte-Carlo.

Based on 2006-07 worldwideproductionfigures for seven metals (aluminium, copper, ferrous, lead, nickel,tin and zinc) and for paper, the global carbon dioxide emissionsavings attributable to recycling in these sectors amount to 551million tonnes - equivalent to 1.8% of worldwide fossil fuelemissions. This impressive statistic was derived from researchconducted at world-renowned Imperial College in London and wasrevealed to IEC delegates by Roger Brewster, Managing Director ofUK-based Metal Interests Ltd, who described the outcome as“fantastic” for the recycling industry.

According to Henrik Harjulaof theEnvironment Directorate/National Policies Division of theOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), therole of recycling “is becoming more and more important all thetime” given that population growth will place increasing strain onthe environment and natural resources. “Your role will be key intrying to provide for this increase in consumption,” he said.

And the guest speaker drewspontaneousapplause when declaring that he would like to see non-hazardousrecyclable materials exempted from waste legislation. Calling forcontrols on such materials to be the same as those covering normaltransactions, he added: “Unfortunately we are not there yet, andunfortunately it could take some time to get there.”

Mr Harjula went on topraise the BIRfor producing “Tools for Environmentally Sound Management”, adocument designed to assist recovery and recycling companies inimplementing an ISO-compliant environmental management systemincorporating the OECD’s Core Performance Elements. There wasstrong evidence to suggest that companies adopting an ESM-basedapproach to business would derive financial benefit in the long run,he said.

The speaker also noted thebeginningsof “a paradigm shift from cradle-to-grave to cradle-to-cradle”,with activities already targeting sustainable materials and closedmaterial cycles. “Recycling will be key in this transition to a newmaterial economy,” Mr Harjula insisted.

Dr Katharina Kummer Peiry,ExecutiveSecretary of the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Controlof Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal,expressed her approval at the lead role taken by BIR in addressingthe issue of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).She also praised the positive input of BIR with regard to the BaselConvention’s partnership initiative which had led to guidelines ondealing with end-of-life mobile phones. A similar initiative coveringcomputer equipment, to which Eric Harris of ISRI had contributedsubstantially, would be launched shortly, she added.

Dr Kummer Peiry recognisedon-goingconcern within the recycling industry surrounding the lack ofdistinction between secondary raw materials and waste, adding thatshe would welcome a continuing strong input from BIR and otherrecycling stakeholders on this issue.

In a submission preparedfor the IECmeeting but ultimately not delivered owing to time constraints, BIR’sEnvironmental and Technical Director pointed out that an officialEuropean Commission document was due to appear shortly and that thiswould elucidate the position of recyclers in relation to the EU’sREACH regulation covering registration, evaluation, authorisation andrestriction of chemicals. According to Mr Bartley’s interpretationof current European Commission advice, the recycling industry has noreason to adopt panic measures in relation to REACH but might wellconsider certain precautionary action.

The IEC meeting inMonte-Carlo markedthe final appearance of Alvaro Rodriguez Martinez of Spain-basedEnergis SA as its Chairman. After six years in the role, he will besucceeded by Olivier François of NV Galloometal of Belgium.

 

For further information pleasecontact:
Elisabeth Christ
BIR Communications Director
Tel: + 32 2 627 57 70
e-mail: bir@bir.org