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An Overview of Indian Recycling Industry
Metal recycling is one of the neglected metals sectors in India. The metals recycling business
suffers from government apathy and to some extent, even a lack of awareness on part of the
various participants within the metals ecosystem. How else can one explain that India’s recycling
rate is just about 25%, putting it at the bottom of the global list of recycling nations. In the US
metals are recycled at a rate of 90%.
Slowly, though, realization is creeping in that recycling metal scrap is a must in the modern world
since the nation’s carbon footprint reduction has become imperative.
The new Modi government in India is seen as proactive one has compelled the Metal Recycling
Association of India (MRAI), a representative trade body,
to ask the federal government to
frame and implement a Metal Recycling Policy and accord it “industry status.” This was also the
underlying purpose of the recently-held “2015 Metal Recycling Association of India International
Conference held in Mumbai.
This is the outline of what the attendees thought the Indian Government should boost scrap
recycling: Remove the basic import duty of 5% on steel scrap, give it industry status, subsidize
lending rates, allow Foreign Direct Investment and increase financing facilities.
A Frost & Sullivan report on ‘Metals and Minerals Practice’ presented on the Indian metal
recycling industry at the MRAI’s international conference, said the sector was currently at a
nascent stage, highly unorganized and large volumes of unaccountable/non-segregated scrap are
“inadequately utilized.” As a result, it said, there is more burden on primary production which is
depleting India’s natural resources.
Due to recent government policy announcements, the Indian recycling industry got a much-needed
wakeup call to convert large amounts of recycled metal scrap into secondary raw material. The
report said India should actively promote organized scrap recycling clusters like developed
countries, thus enabling it to conserve its natural resources and key utilities and import some
advanced recycling machines like copper cable granulator, metal crusher machine, etc.
Take, for example, India’s burgeoning automobile market and how the recycling sector could
benefit and add value to the economy. According to Mohan Agarwal of the Century Metal
Recycling Pvt. Ltd, India has risen to become the seventh-largest automaker globally and the
second-largest producer of two-wheeled motor vehicles (scooters and motorcycles). With this kind
of industry growth, and the motor vehicle industry as a major customer, Century Metal Recycling
had grew, in a mere nine years, to operate seven secondary aluminum and zinc alloy plants in
India with a combined 225,000 metric tons of annual capacity.
That showed the inherent potential that the metals recycling sector held in India, extending across
industries such as aluminum, stainless steel and even lead-acid batteries. Stainless steel factories
in India, for example, use 53% scrap as feedstock, compared to 76% in the United States. All this
could change if the government ushers in reforms in this sector. That is the overwhelming opinion
of the players