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
Global Recycling Day has also ended the year on a high, with Ranjit S. Baxi, Founding President of Global Recycling Foundation and President BIR, appearing on Sky News in response to the DEFRA Resource and Waste Strategy announcement on the 18th December. The announcement was welcomed by Global Recycling Foundation, but there is a lot more to be done to effect truly global change. Join in our Global Recycling Day movement on the 18 March 2019 to play your part.