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BIR Annual Report: A return to greater normality in 2021 – but scale of challenges remains undiminished

  • 21 April 2022

Ahead of its World Recycling Convention & Exhibition in Barcelona, the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has today unveiled its 2021 Annual Report. Featuring a host of sector-specific reviews of last year, the new publication highlights key developments and data as well as the world organization’s activities on behalf of its membership during what has been a period of heightened uncertainty for the entire recycling industry.

BIR’s flagship publication, the contents of which was completed several weeks before the Ukraine crisis unfolded and therefore does not reflect recent dramatic events and their impact around the world, provides valuable insights from BIR’s President Tom Bird, Director General Arnaud Brunet and Treasurer Andy Wahl and also contains expert perspectives on 2021 from the leaders of BIR’s eight commodity Divisions and Committees.

Furthermore, the Annual Report reflects the key achievements and concerns of the organization’s cross-commodity bodies - the International Environment Council and the International Trade Council - as well as activity reports from BIR’s Membership, Ambassadors, Communications and Convention Committees.

“At the time of writing this annual report, we thought that the worst was over,” comments Mr Bird. “When compared to 2020, the COVID pandemic had had a reduced impact on the recycling industry in 2021 and, as a result, business had continued to improve. But now, the world is yet again facing another dramatic challenge, which affects many of our members directly and which shocks all of us to the core. All other problems and issues seem insignificant in comparison.”

“Nevertheless, it is our duty to continue our mission on behalf of our members, and while we are preparing our next World Recycling Convention end of May, we keep fighting for a better recognition of the environmental, economic and social benefits of recycling.”

“In addition, there is the possibility that changes to shipment regulations – particularly in the EU – may restrict the flow of recyclables around the world. We at BIR, and the recycling industry as a whole, must continue to hammer home the message that the free and fair trade of recyclables is absolutely essential to the creation of a global Circular Economy.”

“Clearly our efforts are understood and appreciated by our membership,” Mr Bird concludes. “I am happy to report that BIR’s membership count remained above 700 at the end of last year, with representation in 67 countries around the world. And in these most challenging of times, BIR has even succeeded in attracting new members from different regions.”

Available electronically in both PDF and in an animated version on the BIR website, the 2021 Annual Report will be mailed in hard copy (English) to all BIR members as from mid-May and will also be available during our World Recycling Convention in Barcelona (23-25 May 2022).