My firm belief has been that only by everyone working together can we beat the wasteful curse of careless disposal and capture the incalculable value of recycled products.
Why has our industry been so shy about the contribution it can make to society?
Lord Nicholas Stern, who spoke at the BIR’s 60th Anniversary Convention in Monte Carlo 10 years ago, summed it up: “The recycling industry is the world’s best-kept secret.”
From that moment I have wanted to put a global spotlight on recycling.
We are now just a few days away from the first Global Recycling Day on 18 March, which aims to make a difference for the industry across the planet. We will be celebrating the great contributions that thousands of companies and millions of people are providing every day for the wellbeing of Mother Earth, while creating jobs and contributing to global GDP.
At last I detect the first stages of a paradigm shift in the attitude of world leaders, who are finally acknowledging the powerful impact that the ‘seventh resource’ – all recyclables – could and should have on their economies.
Only by delivering a sharp focus on combating the wastefulness of society can we protect the Earth’s six other precious resources of air, water, minerals, oil, coal and natural gas. The time has come to start putting our planet first in our relentless pursuit of progress and development.
Global Recycling Day is the start of our campaign to explain how the recycling process works and, above all, to demonstrate how we can make a difference in our organisations, communities and homes. Live events on the day will have a single purpose: to make each one of us think about recycling.
In our manifesto Recycling: the Seventh Resource the BIR urges people everywhere to take a fresh look at the goods and materials used and discarded, and see a ‘precious raw material’ where before we might have seen only ‘waste’.
Our future must not only depend on shipping recyclables for processing overseas – we must also continue to build a global circular economy.
Recycling is a big business and it is one which has a direct impact on our environment. It is our duty for future generations that we choose to make a difference on the big day by actively celebrating recycling, the seventh resource.
Ranjit Baxi is President of the Bureau of International Recycling