Contribution Of Recycling Industry To Achieve India’s Vision Of Circular Economy

Sanjay Mehta, President – MRAI

Being a national apex association for promoting the use of recyclable materials, what are the various value-added services you offer?

Apart from promoting all types of recycling in India, MRAI offer following services to its members:

  • Pursuing with GOI to obtain official industry status for the Recycling industry in India.
  • Liaising with all Government authorities viz: Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change, Ministry of Small Medium Enterprises, Ministry of Finance, Bureau of Indian standard, Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Board, Director General of Foreign Trade, Department of Chemicals and Petro-Chemicals, Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Steel, Ministry of Shipping and Waterways, Port & Customs authorities, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India and Niti Aayog, etc.
  • Providing our members, with a platform to discuss the various issues faced by the Recycling community.
  • Representing the Government for abolishing the import duties levied on the scrap material.
  • Continuously working with International Organizations such as the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) based in the USA, Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) based in Belgium, Bureau of Middle East Recycling (BMR), and other International and National Associations, etc.
  • Arranges National and International Conferences to provide networking opportunities to our members.
  • Provides Membership Certificates to its Members.
  • Distributing a complimentary Bi-Monthly E-Magazine copy (PDF) to members.
  • Provides login details to its members so that members can view or retrieve the required information (i.e., Members Directory, Magazines, Daily News, Notifications and Circulars, Reports, Past Event Details, etc.) by visiting the MRAI website (

Metal & Steel sector is a major user of recycling, bringing colossal savings to the national exchequer. Share your insights and views?

Steel is the most recycled material on the planet. The other highly recycled metals include aluminum, copper, silver, brass, and gold. Government has a vision to develop more steel scrap recycling plants across the country. However, the current steel scrap recycling plants are of the steel giants in the country and they are also based near the steel hubs. If really want to make a difference, such steel scrap recycling plants need to find new manufacturing hubs towards south. The current endeavour by Govt. of India for developing steel cluster such a Purvanchal Region is a laudable initiative, but it already has major steel companies located within the region.

According to the American Geosciences Institute,  the largest energy savings achieved by recycling are generally for metals, which are often easy to recycle and otherwise typically need to be produced by energy-intensive mining and processing of ore. For example, energy savings from beryllium recycling are 80%, lead 75%, iron and steel 72%, and cadmium 50%.

Looking into recycling benefits, when compared with the quantity of energy needed to dump the same products into landfills or waste treatment systems (incinerators) and manufacture new items from scratch, the results of recycling vary dramatically, depending on the item.
Some key differentiators:

  • 20 recycled aluminium cans can be created with the amount of energy it takes to manufacture one new can.
  • Producing plastic items from recycled plastics minimizes energy needs by 66 percent.
  • Around 40 percent of all the trash is paper. Manufacturing recycled paper saves 4,100 kilowatt-hours of energy.

What are the challenges in recycling E-waste?

Product Complexity:

As electronics and electrical are made up of multiple materials, such as glass, various plastics, ferrous & non-ferrous materials, rare-earth elements etc, material separation and sorting of e-waste becomes difficult which is a major challenge faced globally.

Process Efficiency:

Another challenge in E-Waste recycling is the Efficiency. With increased production of consumer electronics, e-waste generation continues to rise. Processing outputs must increase to match demand, and cost-efficient processes must be developed to decrease the cost of sorting e-waste. Sorting and screening solutions must be able to handle large volumes of waste, and do so with minimal downtime.

Lack of capacity utilization and to non- availability of good quality E-Waste:

Setting up of a recycling facility is a capital-intensive process and a recycler invests crores of amount to create an infrastructure but because of non-availability of good quality E-Waste scrap, recyclers are unable to utilize hundred percent of their facility. Thereby, we request the government to provide some financial aid towards the non-utilization of capacity in tonnages and not to reduce the EPR targets.

Lack of Awareness:

Today, there is a huge need of educating people on entire procurement of e-waste. For example: How to handle electronics and how to keep them after their use. People are unaware about maintenance of e-waste and about the delicacy of e-waste. This is one of the biggest reasons why there is non-availability of good quality of e-waste. Informal sector is the biggest procurer of e-waste and due to lack of information and knowledge; they do not dismantle these procured E-waste in a right way, which ultimately hampers the quality of the E-Waste material.

Export agreements:

There are many multi- national companies having their offices situated in India, they are bulk users of electronic items and major generators of e-waste. Many of our members have raised issues of not getting e-waste from them on account of the global agreements they have with recyclers not based in India.

Thereby, we suggest that in order to make good quality e-waste scrap available, export of e-waste generated in India shall be banned, so that the Indian recyclers shall be authorized to process e-waste generated in India.

Non-availability of data on Government Portal:

Presently, there is no system where one can see data on total e-waste generation & EPR capacity each producer has to fulfill on CPCB portal or any other government website portal. Therefore, it is difficult to paint a real picture of total generation or recovery of e-waste and to know if the producers are fulfilling the requirements as per the mandated utilization of their capacity.

We suggest the Government to develop a portal that can help all the stakeholders in the value chain such as rag pickers, segregators, collection yards, distributors and melting recyclers.

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