Resource Efficiency in Recycling Metals – India

Resource Efficiency in Recycling Metals – India


TERI University, New Delhi, India

Recycling is an answer for effective conservation of the natural resources and to recover the resources from waste. This is essential at this point as most of the natural mineral resources are depleting at a faster rate with practically no replacement in nature. The need for a controlled consumption and organized recycling will facilitate in reducing the consumption of virgin resources and recovering these resources from waste.

Recycling has been in practice from time immemorial in India mostly takes place in the informal or the unorganized sector. These units use unscientific methods to salvage the materials from waste which is sold as scrap in the market. Such units used highly polluting technologies leading to extensive pollution to the environment and pose health hazard to all those who are engaged in such activities.

The scenario is changing as recycling and resource recovery has become global phenomenon and advanced technologies are being developed to make recycling a profitable venture. In India there have been policy interventions for environmentally sound recycling and some major units have been set up for recycling using environmentally sound technologies.

The paper is an attempt to study prevailing recycling practices and to augment the existing practices using a scientific approach and providing better technology without causing an imbalance to the prevailing practices. The carbon footprints for metals produced from secondary sources reveal that the use of secondary raw materials can lower the carbon footprint of new products. The environmental indicators for qualitative and quantitative assessment of the primary and secondary production of non ferrous metals have been identified.