Skip to main content

The Bash in Brussels

  • 26 October 2021
  • We hate to brag (well actually we don’t, because if we don’t say it, who will!) but the latest edition of The Challenge was a stellar celebration of BIR’s eagerly anticipated return, after two long years, to a convention festival of renewed personal networking interaction, while with a creative hybrid format that also engaged with our still marooned virtual members. The Challenge was front and center the signature event that enabled us to capture the ethos of actual participants to both a live and a playback audiencethat the show with its unique chat show conversation format once again addressed with brio in lively, topical and cutting-edge fashion.

    We dare to say that The Three Amigos – host Michael Lion (Chair of the BIR’s International Trade Council) and resident co-anchor contributors Mark Sellier (Chair of the Communications Committee) and Murat Bayram (Chair of the Convention Committee) – nailed it once again with their upfront and personal takes on the major issues our members currently face.

    A unanimity of view as Michael Lion prefaced in his introduction is the existential threats confronting our members with several regions’ current ill-conceived and counter-intuitively framed prospective legislation that, as Mr Lion noted, represents some of the greatest threats to the international trading of recyclable raw materials in at least the last forty years.

    Murat Bayram depicted how most particularly with the EU’s prospective new regulations the potential consequences of effectively creating export controls on both ferrous and nonferrous recyclable raw materials would both immensely damage the efficient and progressive functioning of Europe’s recycling industry in what was merely a Trojan horse approach to commercially benefit the European consumers with the community’s recyclers being sacrificed to this end.

    Mark Sellier expanded on this concern and how determined we as a crucial component of the raw materials supply chain must be recognized and truly supported in our critical role.

    As Mr Lion observed, if politicians and bureaucrats are sincerely committed to climate change, reduction of carbon emissions and the global circular economy as identified by The Paris Accords, as well as COP 19 and 26, they must enable free supply chain movement of our recyclable to incentivize emerging market consumers to adapt their operations to increasing usage of secondary materials rather than current primary sources going forward.

    In summary, The Three Amigos unanimously urged an increasingly militant and forceful expression of our position to counter the well-funded but misleading lobbying of the big corporate consumers to protect recycling’s invaluable role in the global supply chainto guarantee a genuinely decarbonizing path for a universally realistic sustainable future.

    Moving on to the show’s star invited guest feature, the celebrated and highly respectedPresident of the leading metals recycler SA Recycling George Adams provided an utterly fascinating and uplifting exposition of the success of his company and its growth over a few short years to one of the largest and most respected recycling companies in the USA.

    In what was unquestionably an admirable example and role model of how the creative entrepreneurialism that has always been the hallmark of our industry can still flourish even in today’s challenging world, Mr Adams illustrated how his company’s progressive respect and empowerment of their work force provides a culture and climate that both incentivizes the employees to career-fulfilling, harmonious and profitable benefits for the entire work force of their organization –  an enormously encouraging and uplifting message and credit to our industry.

    Moving to address current practical challenges including logistics, seeking expansion of the current tight available labor pool and of course absurd regulations, Mr Adams shared his thoughts and insights very engagingly with the Amigos.

    In the last segment of the show, a hot seat for flash soundbite interviews to capture the excitement, ethos and pizzaz of the return to a live convention ranged across a cornucopia of quick take contributions commencing with asurprise media guest, Wang Yan Julian Luk, the much respected senior reporter of leading industry organization Fastmarkets,

    as ever, Julian’s take was perceptive and focused – then host Michael Lion in rapid succession introduced veteran director of EMR, Mark Priestman, Edward Kangeter, CEO of leading US non chlorine using secondary aluminum producer and recycler of CASS Inc, culminating in Mr Lion’s recognition of the exceptional role that BIR Director General,Arnaud Brunet and the entire Brussels Secretariat team had achieved in organizing such a successful Bash In Brussels, and finally bringing on set the President of BIR Mr Tom Bird, who as Mr Lion noted has so splendidly provided leadershipthrough unquestionably the most challenging two years any president of the BIR has had to endure in living memory – but hopefully with calmer waters ahead enabling the continuing return of the BIR’s much lauded twice yearly global live conventions schedule, and if this week’s event provides an example, this is a highly popular prospect.