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BIR President end-of-year message

Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) President, Tom Bird looks back over the past year and gives his opinion on what the industry could expect in 2021.


BIR President end-of-year message feat four

“Dear fellow members,

Exactly one year ago, I wrote to you looking back at 2019 as a challenging year. Little did I know that 2020 was going to give a whole new meaning to the word ‘challenge’ and would put any previous complaints about difficult markets, trade barriers and financial crises into a whole new perspective.

BIR President end-of-year message feat four-two
Tom Bird

In 2020, we have all lived through an unprecedented scenario of professional and personal hardship. Some of us have lost friends and loved ones, saw their companies and livelihoods endangered by collapsing economic framework conditions and faced existential uncertainty during seemingly endless months of lockdown.

However, 2020 has also taught us yet again the incredible things that mankind is capable of: the incredible work and sacrifice of our health professionals; the resilience of workers and employees during isolating lockdown conditions; the compassion and the active help of neighbours and friends. In short, 2020 has demonstrated people’s amazing ability to never give up and continue fighting in the face of adversity.

One of the most significant things that transpired during this crisis was the importance of being supported by a community, being part of a ‘bigger picture’. Throughout the year, we at BIR have done our utmost to step up the services to our members, have quickened the pace of our market and legislative information, have continued to advocate our members’ interests in international fora and have adapted our convention services to the new conditions of virtual gatherings by providing two full online webinar-based events.

I am happy to say that you, our members, have recognized our efforts and have remained loyal to your global recycling federation. As we are now looking at 2021, we know that our face-to-face meetings will again be possible and that at the same time we will keep building up our digital footprint and online interaction with membership, legislators, media and the wider public.

While Chinese import restrictions and Brexit are among the many factors that are likely to heavily impact our business as from 2021, it will also be interesting to see which circular economy will emerge from the combined effect of the pandemic and new market opportunities.

As 2020 draws to a close, we are at least now seeing an improvement in the commodity markets which is helping many businesses recover some of the lost ground experienced during the early stages of the pandemic. Hopefully, this bodes well for the months ahead as demand continues to improve.

On a personal note and on behalf of BIR, I would like to thank you again for your great loyalty and support and wish you, your families and co-workers, Happy Christmas and safe, healthy and happy end-of-year holidays.”