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How India's Metal Scrap Recycling Industry Growing

India is now the world's second-largest steel producer, with output expected to increase by 17.8 per cent to 118.1 million tonnes in 2021

Photo Credit : Stock


India is the second largest producer of steel in the world after China. As a big producer and user, the country's manufacturing sector is accelerating with various new projects. It also boosts the scrap and recycling market. 

According to International Trade Administration, in 2019, essential and optional steel makers utilised around 32 million metric lots of ferrous scrap, an increment of 11.4 per cent over the earlier year. 

Almost 25 million metric tons were obtained through the local scrap vendors and the rest 7 million metric tonnes were imported from China, the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and different business sectors to India.

With the increase in metal scrap production, it is necessary to recycle it and use it for a sustainable nature.

Rajesh Gupta, Founder and MD, of Nupur Recyclers said, "The increasing investments in infrastructure driven by urbanisation has surged the domestic demand of metal leading to the change in the situation. As the consumption of steel and metal is increasing in the country, steps toward a circular economy have been backed by several companies entering the metal scrap recycling business. Recycling is the basis for a circular economy to roll on."

The global metal scrap recycling market is worth over USD 500 billion wherein India's share is USD 11 billion or 2.2 per cent of the industry. Furthermore, when compared to the process of producing new metal, metal recycling is relatively cheap. It also increases the likelihood of recovering various precious metals, which could eventually propel India to self-sufficiency, he said.

Recycling for Nature

As per FICCI research, ferrous metal reusing in India can decrease discharges by 59 per cent, which is a momentous measurement. Steel scrap recycling, as indicated by a similar report, could cut water and air pollution by 76 per cent and 86 per cent respectively.

Gupta said, "Recycling does more than just extending landfill life. It is about making the most of what we have and preserving it for future generations. It is concerned with the conservation of resources such as water, energy, land, and raw materials. Recycling has numerous business advantages in addition to the environmental advantages- saves energy, keeps waste out of landfills and incinerators, and provides raw materials for new product manufacturing."

The government of India is continuously working towards the enhancement of nature and sustainability. The Ministry of Steel 2019 issued a Steel Scrap Recycling Policy under which processing and recycling of products in an organised, safe and environment-friendly manner is to be practised.

In 2021, the Ministry of Mines has given the National Non-Ferrous Metal Scrap Recycling Framework with an emphasis on controlling scrap assortment, segregation and dismantling units with a legitimate system for registration, data gathering and detailing component.

India's recycling rates are lower than Global Market

"Metal recycling is one of the world's fastest-growing industries. One of the most important ways to protect our environment is through metal recycling. Several industries are rapidly increasing this demand. While much metal reuse and recycling is already taking place in India, and the industry has begun to grow at a reasonable rate, the potential for more is enormous," said Gupta.

As individuals become more aware of intriguing earth metal depletion and government laws become more rigid, the metal recycling market is supposed to develop.

Besides, rising urbanisation, industrialisation, and the quick development of the auto business have expanded the interest in metal reusing. The global metal recycling market is also believed to rise due to a hike in construction works in various regions such as Europe and Asia-Pacific.

He further said, "Various start-ups have entered the space over the years, coming up with various innovative ways to recycle scrap metal. Adequate government support in the form of simplified policies and regulations can provide a boost to these environmentally conscious organisations. It is cutting-edge, cost-effective, promising, and profitable. Furthermore, implementing sustainable practices with the assistance of smart waste management solutions boosts the company's credibility and is preferred by customers."

According to a recent study on the metal recycling industry, the global metal recycling market was valued at USD 229.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.85 per cent from 2022 to 2030, reaching USD 384 billion. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to account for the majority of total market revenue.

However, India's recycling rate for all metals is significantly lower than the global benchmark, said Gupta. "See the infinite recyclability of three major metals such as steel, aluminium, and copper, of which India is both a large producer and consumer. However, we have seen in recent years that we have been slow to recognise the importance of large-scale countrywide scrap collection and re-melting," he said.

Gupta also said, "India is still in its early stages, with low recycling awareness. Unfortunately, only 30 per cent of India's recyclable scrap is recycled. So we must educate people about the long-term benefits of recycling. Consumers frequently do not know how or where to recycle their old products. Awareness campaigns on effective recycling must be organised as part of the drive. Furthermore, strict policies and regulations must be put in place to ensure that metal scrap is responsibly collected, stored, and recycled. We are at 30 per cent and need to reach 100 per cent."

India is now the world's second-largest steel producer, with output expected to increase by 17.8 per cent to 118.1 million tonnes in 2021. In contrast to countries that take pride in using increasing amounts of steel scrap to produce ferrous metal and thus reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, India only uses about 30 MT of scrap per year.

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Metal Scrap Recycling