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About BIR

Founded in 1948, BIR was the first federation to support the interests of the recycling industry on an international scale. Today, BIR represents more than 30,000 companies around the globe, with a direct membership of over 1,000 companies and 36 national associations from 71 countries. Together, these members form the largest international recycling federation.

BIR comprises five Commodity Divisions : iron & steel, non-ferrous metals, paper, plastics and textiles, and has three Commodity Committees dealing with stainless steel & special alloys, tyres & rubber and recycled electronics/batteries.

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. Its statutes (Articles of Association in French and English) were revised and adopted by the BIR General Assembly in May 2023. BIR‘s Internal Regulations (including Guidelines for Chairpersons) and Anti-Trust Policy (BIR Anti-Trust Policy) were revised and approved in February 2019. The registered office is currently headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.


  • the sole global recycling federation
  • founded in 1948
  • represented in 71 countries
  • over 1,000 international members, of which
    • 36 national recycling associations
    • Over 1,000 individual companies
  • a diversified commodity structure:
    • 5 commodity divisions: iron & steel, non-ferrous metals, paper, plastics and textiles
    • 3 committees for stainless steel & special alloys, tyres/rubber and recycled electronics/batteries
  • 2 World Recycling Conventions per year
  • an interactive website with online membership directory
  • a regular information service with commodity world mirrors, statistics and newsletters.


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.

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 also according the following commodity committees: