The scrap recycling sector in India needs to be strengthened to avoid dependency on imports and to make the country self-reliant, said Mohan Agarwal, Managing Director of Century Metal Recycling, adding that, “Scrap is a mine above earth.”
He was speaking at a webinar by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) to discuss non-ferrous metals and their contribution towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ on Oct 22.
He highlighted how most secondary producers still fall under the MSME segment but are organized and follow government regulations. Agarwal emphasized that secondary metals cost approximately 15pc less than primary metals and don’t produce solid waste. Stainless steel is 100pc recycled in India, zinc 60pc, copper 80pc and lead 90pc. Recycling industry needs to step in and generation of scrap needs to be boosted, he said.
Quality of domestic scrap grades is rather poor and does not meet the international standards. Infrastructure to process scrap needs to be constructed, opined Agarwal.
India’s scrap content is low because scrap collection units are less. Generation of scrap needs to be increased. In India, products are used over their shelf-life which results in low quality of scrap and less availability of standardized scrap, he said.
Domestic scrap quality is not suitable for recycling mills and the recyclers resort to importing scrap. The standards of high-quality scrap need to be met soon to reduce imports of non-ferrous scrap and reach a step closer to being self-reliant. Secondary metals’ production uses 40pc less energy and secondary segment needs a boost from government if we really yearn to be self-sufficient, he said.
GST on scrap should be brought down from 18pc as scrap is a good that has already reached the end of its life. By cutting GST, government can increase demand for scrap-based production for the various sectors, he said.
Auto, pharma and Infrastructure sectors are the main segments which consume secondary and primary base metals. As production enhances and these sectors improve, secondary metals will gain momentum in the coming days.