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 over 760 member companies from the private sector and 36 national associations in more than 70 countries. Together, these members form the largest international recycling federation.

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. Their statutes (Articles of Association) and Internal Regulations (including Guidelines for Chairpersons) were revised and approved in February 2019. The registered office is currently headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

Our Mission

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;
  • To provide its members, through arbitration, with a fast and efficient means to resolve commercial disputes.

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 commodity committees


End of year message from BIR President Ranjit S. Baxi



Dear BIR members,

It is almost impossible to recall a more tumultuous time in the political and economic world. As I write these few words, I am trying hard to remind myself of that old adage: “If you are going through difficult times – keep going.” I shall leave the politics to the politicians, but global trading has been battered by new regulations, restrictions and controls, and the world seems to be changing course from multilateralism to nationalism as every country warily considers how the impact of those changes will affect their own economy.

Demand and supply curves have continued to be strongly influenced by unilaterally-imposed regulatory controls on recyclables, especially the implementation by China of revised quality requirements on imports of recyclables. We at BIR have always advocated the need for free and fair trade of recyclables, which directly leads to: the annual saving of more than 700 million tons of CO2 emissions; a projected contribution to global GDP of over US$ 400 billion by 2025; and employment for millions of people.

Thanks in large part to BIR’s first Global Recycling Day, which we celebrated on 18 March 2018 with the help and support of our members, we have today got the world talking about the importance of recycling, and many more industries and private individuals are acutely aware of the role they play in developing and capturing the value of the planet’s Seventh Resource. As a result, our initiative has earned recognition from the United Nations to micro-events witnessed by millions. To pick out just one quote from a UN agency, it said: “Global Recycling Day is a reminder to us all of the difference we can make to protect our environment.” At the same time, however, economic pressures and legislative controls are undoubtedly putting a brake on what could be achieved not only in the handling of recyclables but also in the investment needed to maximise their potential.

This year was particularly special for all of us as we marked our 70th anniversary, and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing our birthday celebrations with so many of you in Barcelona and London. I wish personally to thank all our members and trade associations for making 2018 a special celebratory year.

I must also extend a big thank you to the BIR Secretariat team in Brussels for their unstinting work over the past year.

One of the highlights of the year was the launch of our Global Recycling Foundation (www.globalrecyclingfoundation.org), which will not only continue to promote Global Recycling Day but also support educational and awareness programmes, including initiatives focusing on the sustainable and inclusive development of recycling around the world. Surely nothing can be more important if we are to preserve the future of our planet.

Finally, as we all look forward to celebrating the end-of-year festivities with our families, I would like to extend my personal good wishes to you all. We draw our strength, support and inspiration from our families and I know, therefore, that the BIR family will be able to overcome the challenges which lie ahead.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ranjit S. Baxi
BIR President

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