To Rome, the Eternal City in late-May for the BIR (Bureau of International Recycling) spring meeting, where the movers and shakers of the secondary metals world certainly know how to shrug off the economic blues. The food and the drink was typically Italian, while taxis were typically Roman – the euro price on the meter was sometimes a starting point for negotiations.
Rome is built on Seven Hills, and the BIR and some of its satellite hotels were plonked right on top of a couple of them. Whereas your average crow could fly from one to another in 10 minutes the average delegate took at least 30 minutes ‘up hill and down dale’ – one way to build up a thirst. Nevertheless, although margins are tight with aluminium prices near their lowest for two years and copper not pulling up any trees either, a record number of 1,400 delegates were in attendance. Whether the business is steel, aluminium alloys, copper wire or scrap in general the picture is the same – it is going to be a tough second half of the year.
Nevertheless, the BIR also know how to hold a party, and where better than the Villa Miani on a sunny Italian evening, inevitably on top of a hill, but where the food and drink flowed and the entertainment ranged from medieval music to a hand shadow show.
Oh – and for fans of Dr Who there was an appearance by a ‘weeping angel’ with the Vatican as a backdrop.