Resource Use

BIR claims first Global Recycling Day a success

The Bureau for International Recycling (BIR) has claimed the first ever Global Recycling Day as a success as the organisation pushes to have it recognised as an official day in the UN calendar.

Taking place on Sunday (18 March), Global Recycling Day attracted interest and support on a ‘truly worldwide level’, according to a statement by the Brussels-based recycling organisation on Monday (19 March), with events all over the world in locations as diverse as London, Paris, Lagos, Delhi and Sydney.

The BIR has stated that, although it is still in the process of compiling facts and figures on the success of the day and hopes to provide a full impact report over the next few days, there is ‘no doubt that year one of Global Recycling Day has definitely surpassed all expectations’.BIR claims first Global Recycling Day a success

As stated in the BIR’s Global Recycling Day manifesto, the initiative seeks to foster a global approach to recycling – which it projects will make an annual contribution to global GDP of in excess of $400 billion (£287 billion) over the next ten years – and to encourage people to think of recycled or recyclable materials as the ‘Seventh Resource’ after water, air, coal, oil, natural gas and minerals. The project also wants to raise awareness and provide information about how people can better manage their waste in order to enable better recycling.

On the global day of action that also marks the 70th anniversary of the BIR, participants called on world leaders, international businesses, communities and individuals to make seven clear commitments in their approach to recycling. These are:

  1. Be single-use-plastic aware – reduce and recycle,
  2. Learn, and follow, local recycling regulations,
  3. Prevent contamination of recyclable materials,
  4. Mend, repair and reuse,
  5. Be a recycling-aware shopper,
  6. Make the effort to recycle electronics, and
  7. Reduce our individual waste-footprint.

The day saw participants take part in a range of activities across the globe including litter picks, educational programmes, community events and petition signings and was supported on social media by a variety of brands and businesses who shared the hashtag #GlobalRecyclingDay, including Fjällräven, Tetrapak, Danone, Veolia, Nestle Waters and many more.

The BIR is now pushing to have Global Recycling Day recognised as an official day in the UN calendar, with more than 7,000 people having signed its petition on the topic.

Global Recycling Day is an initiative conceived by BIR President Ranjit Baxi upon becoming President in 2015. Commenting on the importance of the initiative, Baxi said: “The world’s first Global Recycling Day is a vitally important new date in our global calendar. To truly harness the power of recycling we must adopt a global approach to its collection, processing and use. It is time we put the planet first and all commit to spend 10 more minutes a day ensuring that materials are disposed of properly.

“Global Recycling Day is also a wake-up call to all of us, wherever we live. We must unite with those involved in the industry – from workers in waste collection to the world’s largest businesses – to help them make the best use of what we dispose of and make recycling easier, inherent even in the design of products.”

You can read the Global Recycling Day manifesto on the BIR’s website.