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BIR concerned by outcome of WSR vote in EU Parliament

  • 18 January 2023

Following yesterday’s plenary vote in the European Parliament regarding the revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR), BIR is very concerned regarding its potential impact on the global circular economy.

While intra-European movements are clearly facilitated, exports to countries outside the EU - industrialized (OECD) countries and developing (non-OECD) countries – will be considerably burdened by intergovernmental agreements and inspections, audits and checks on facilities in third countries. Moreover, the worldwide concern about plastic pollution will likely lead to a prohibition on plastic recyclables exports from the EU, and furthermore has led to harsher conditions on exports of other recyclables desired by industries around the world.

There are further legislative steps to undergo at the EU Council of Ministers before the new Regulation appears during which BIR will be working with its members to secure their future business. BIR warns both OECD and non-OECD country Governments to look carefully to the impact of these proposed laws on the material needs of their own industries.

BIR President Tom Bird feels very strongly about the potential damage that this regulation inflicts upon the international recycling industry. “I have mentioned many times that in my opinion these regulations represent a thinly disguised back-door protectionism that puts our industry in danger while severely disrupting the global circular economy,” Mr Bird said immediately after being briefed on the outcome of the vote (see related BIR news here). “It should be blatantly clear to everybody that the trade of vital raw materials such as recycled metals should not be restricted, and BIR as an organization remains fully committed to ensuring exactly that – free trade of recyclables in a global circular economy!”  


BIR is the international trade association of the recycling industries. Around 70 countries are represented through their national trade associations and individual companies, which are involved in recycling. BIR comprises four commodity divisions: iron & steel, non-ferrous metals, paper and textiles, and has four commodity committees dealing with stainless steel & special alloys, plastics, tyres & rubber and E-scrap. BIR’s primary goal is to promote recycling and recyclability, thereby conserving natural resources, protecting the environment and facilitating free trade of secondary raw materials.