The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has launched a global Manifesto to demonstrate how the items we discard and the goods society recycles have the power to combat climate change and – potentially – change the world in which we live.
The document, Recycling: The Seventh Resource Manifesto introduces the public to its newly coined concept and sets out the vision and mission of Global Recycling Day. Published around 100 days before the event, it urges people across the world to take a fresh look at the goods and materials they use and discard, every day, calling upon humanity to rethink the word ‘waste’.
The Seventh Resource
BIR explained that the Earth has six primary natural resources – water, air, oil, natural gas, coal and minerals, but cautioned that they are finite resources, over which we have a collective duty of care.
However, the organisation said that there is a Seventh Resource, i.e. recyclable goods – metals, textiles, paper, plastics and many more – which can be used time and time again, sometimes indefinitely.
The Manifesto tells the global story of our use of resources, showcasing our collective responsibility towards the goods and materials we use and discard. It asks world leaders and individuals to rethink the word ‘waste’ and to put true economic and environmental value behind recyclables.
It does this with the introduction of seven commitments BIR would like to see from world leaders across the planet, asking them to recognize that recycling is too important not to be seen as a truly global issue.
BIR said that it is actively presenting leaders with these commitments, asking them to see Global Recycling Day itself as a day of change. These seven commitments are:
- Implement and strengthen international agreements that promote recycling, and negotiate new ones as needed.
- Support and promote the sustainable trade of recyclable materials to ecologically sound companies across the globe.
- Educate, from the grass roots up, the public on the critical necessity of recycling.
- Agree to a common language of recycling (same definitions, same messages).
- Make recycling a community issue, supporting initiatives which help households and businesses provide Seventh Resource materials for repurposing.
- Work with the industry to encourage ‘design for recycling’ in the reuse of materials – reducing waste and integrating ‘end-of-life’ functionality at the design stage
- Support innovation, research and initiatives that foster better recycling practices
As the Manifesto highlights, the annual contribution of the recycling industry towards the global GDP is projected to exceed $400 billion in the next 10 years, and the planet is really only beginning to understand the power of the Seventh Resource.
The document was masterminded by Ranjit Baxi, President of BIR, and supported by Dr Katharina Kummer Peiry, former Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, and Philippe Chalmin, Professor of Economic History at Paris-Dauphine University. Baxi commented: “Primary resources, as we all know, are finite. It is our collective duty, across the globe, to preserve, respect and make the best use of virgin resources.
“My goal in envisaging, and now launching, Global Recycling Day is to show the world that there is a Seventh Resource, as economically viable as, and more sustainable than, the six key primary resources.
“Climate change is the major, overriding environmental issue of our time, and the single greatest challenge facing environmental regulators. It is a growing crisis with economic, health and safety, food production, security and other dimensions. It is therefore imperative to promote a sustainable solution which will turn this challenge into an opportunity.
“The Manifesto is the vehicle by which we are doing this, setting out our vision and our belief in the power of the Seventh Resource. We want Global Recycling Day itself to be a day of celebration, championship and change: celebration of the goods and materials around us; championship of the good recycling can do, and for us all to make a change in our attitudes and practices towards our own waste and recycling habits.”
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