Looking back on the first-ever Global Recycling Day

Levels of engagement in the inaugural, BIR-inspired Global Recycling Day far exceeded expectations, laying firm foundations for growing the event in the years to come.
Thorben Wengert, pixelio.de

So says Sophy Norris of Flagship Consulting, the communications agency that helped turn March 18 this year into the first-ever global celebration of recycling and of the achievements of the recycling industry. Reviewing the success of the event at BIR’s latest Convention in Barcelona, she proclaimed: “A movement has been sparked.”

In its championing of Global Recycling Day and of recyclables as the world’s Seventh Resource alongside water, air, coal, oil, natural gas and minerals, BIR has been heralded as a true leader in its field of expertise, she declared.

According to BIR global Recycling Day messages reached 10.5 million people and were picked up by some of the world’s leading media outlets such as Sky News. At least twenty-three global events were witnessed by well over 10,000 people: official events were staged in nine of the world’s major cities – Brussels, Delhi, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Paris, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Washington DC – while unofficial events took place in countries as diverse as Ghana, the Maldives, Nepal and Malaysia.

The profile of Global Recycling Day was boosted by testimonials from 10 environmental leaders, including Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim, United Nations Assistant Secretary General Nikhil Seth and Dr Janez Potočnik, former EU Commissioner for the Environment. Engagement with the United Nations “surpassed expectations”, according to Mrs Norris. Steps are being taken towards a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), while the United Nations Environment Programme has also been engaged. “Our manifesto has opened doors,” she said.

According to BIR several major global brands also joined in with the Global Recycling Day initiative, including Greenpeace, WWF, Coca-Cola, Dell and Nestlé. Some have already lined up conversations about involvement in next year’s second Global Recycling Day. Indeed, in looking to the future, Mrs Norris highlighted four areas of focus: maximising goodwill to bring on board more corporate sponsors; further engagement with UNIDO and working towards official recognition of Global Recycling Day; continued engagement across all channels; and ensuring the BIR membership benefits from association with the day.


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