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Futurist Keynote, UAE: The Future of Recycling for BIR


In this keynote futurist Matthew Griffin explores the Future of Recycling, the industry, the innovations, and digs into why at current rates we may never live sustainably.


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Firstly, thank you to Sophie Burrige OBE, the Chairman of the Bureau of International Recycling, the organisation who represents the majority of the world’s major recyclers from all corners of the industry – from e-waste, fabrics, and plastics, to demolition and scrap metal –  for asking me to be their keynote in Abu Dhabi, UAE.


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One of the world’s most important industries and arguably the industry with the greenest vision of them all – to be the industry that enables the lauded Circular Economy and support the continuous recycling of materials and resources and reuse – the recycling industry is, in many people’s opinions, one of the most under rated industries in the world today as we try to prevent environmental Armageddon and avert the climate crisis.


The Future of Recycling 2030, by Keynote Matthew Griffin


Often referred to as waste, rather than resource, every year globally humanity uses over 100 Billion tonnes of the Earth’s resources – ore, wood, and so such – produces over 2.4 Billion tonnes of hard waste, and recycles just 312 Million tonnes – a figure that is dismal by anyones standards. And this figure isn’t because of the industry’s will or technological prowess – which is greater than many people think – it’s because human behaviours see most trash going into the wrong bins, and because investors are so focused on ESG investing that they overlook investing in helping build and scale global recycling capacity.


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During my keynote I summarised the state of the union for the industry, dove into global stats and lifted the lid on government green policies, and showed the audience the latest recycling technologies that will help processors eliminate toxic chemicals from the recycling process, boost material and resource recovery rates, and decarbonise the industry to make it even greener.

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