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BIR backs global recycling directory

The Bureau of International Recycling is appealing to national associations in the world’s leading economies to ensure their governments know the scale of the recycling sector within their borders.

BIR trade and environment director Ross Bartley says the information is needed urgently because the OECD group of three dozen advanced economies has set a deadline for this data to be collated by the end of October.

Budapest meeting

Bartley was speaking at a media briefing ahead the world recycling association’s latest convention, held in Budapest. He said a directory of recycling businesses was being developed following an amendment in May to the Basel Convention aimed at restricting shipments of hard-to-recycle plastic to developing countries. Individual governments had to know the scale of their own recycling sectors before implementing new laws or regulations in this area, he insisted.

The speed of governments

‘We want to identify facilities and have sent questionnaires to national associations. We need to look at how these new rules will come into place in other jurisdictions. This can slow down transactions because we are running at the speed of governments and not business,’ Bartley said.

‘Scrap’ versus ‘waste’

The organisation is also supporting efforts in China for greater clarity over the meaning of ‘scrap’ in its imports of secondary materials. Tom Bird, the new president of BIR, told the same briefing that Chinese translations of ‘scrap’ and ‘waste’ were effectively interchangeable, undermining the value of high-quality scrap metal in particular.
Earlier this year, the Chinese Non-ferrous Metals Industry Association (CMRA) called on Beijing to rebrand high-quality secondary copper to emphasise its importance as a vital raw material, thereby making imports easier.

Mission to China

BIR’s director general Arnaud Brunet told journalists that BIR officials would meet CMRA counterparts in November to discuss progress and what support they might need in their campaign. He said it was important to develop global standards to which everyone could agree.

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