End-of-year message from BIR President Tom Bird
2019 has proved to be a challenging year for our industry on many fronts. Global political uncertainty, macro economic issues, environmental regulations and trade wars have all conspired to create a difficult business climate.
On the upside, however, the importance of recycling remains a major priority for governments around the world. Daily throughout the year, we have seen on our television screens and on social media the pressure being heaped upon nations to clean up the planet and to cut emissions. As recyclers, this is what we do as an industry. I made clear in my first address as BIR President in Budapest that our world organization needs to lead the industry in conveying the positive message of recycling and to collate the figures to support us in this mission.
The huge success of the Global Recycling Day in 2019 clearly shows the positive impact that educating the world as to the importance of recycling can have. Also, we should not forget the fact that we are in business and that business needs to show returns. The markets in 2019 were generally bearish and, with the import restrictions into China becoming more onerous, many businesses suffered not only in the metals sector but also in other recyclables such as paper and plastics. The latter part of 2019, however, has brought something of an upturn and more of a positive note is being sounded as we conclude 2019 and enter the next decade.
I would like to thank all our member companies and national associations for their support throughout 2019 and at the two BIR Conventions in Singapore and Budapest. Despite market conditions, turn-out and attendances were very high and the feedback we at BIR have received regarding the two events has been positive. BIR will continue to improve and tailor the format of the Conventions to the needs of our members.
A particular thank-you to our superb BIR secretariat in Brussels for its efforts in 2019. Under the excellent leadership of our Director General Arnaud Brunet, this small team works tirelessly and efficiently on behalf of us all. As BIR President, I now have a much better insight into the outstanding job they all do.
Finally, I would like to wish all of our BIR members a happy and peaceful end-of-year holiday season as well as a prosperous 2020. I look forward to welcoming you all to our Convention in Istanbul this coming May.