Blog: Recycle to Reuse

The land of steel: a quick overview of the metal recycling market in India

India has a history of being a strong exporter of iron and steel, but increasing investments in infrastructure, driven by urbanization, have increased domestic demand and changed the situation. The amount of steel and iron is increasing in the country, and the steps toward a circular economy have been backed by Tata Steel entering the iron recycling business.

According to the World Steel Association (Worldsteel), India produced 9.2 million tonnes of crude steel in July 2019, accumulating to yearly estimation of 110.4 Mt. India aims to achieve an annual crude steel production capacity of 300 Mt by 2030. In addition to being one of the world’s leading steel economies, India is already now one of the largest markets for vehicles. The amount of passenger cars in India is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years. While new vehicles continue to flow in as the economy grows, India is facing the challenge of getting old vehicles off the roads.

The metal recycling market in India is thus driven by the country’s urgent need to organize the recycling sector. This entails meeting the demand for automated and faster methods of processing scrap as the country develops its capabilities and economy. At the same time, the waste import bans in China have resulted in the U.S. and Europe finding a more established market in India. A lot of scrap—both ferrous and non-ferrous—now comes in from Europe and the USA.

Each market is of course different and driven by unique factors, but legislation always has a great impact on the recycling business. The Indian government has started to limit the life of commercial vehicles to a maximum of 20 years, private cars being left out of the legislation for now. This all means that the amount of metal scrap will increase, opening opportunities for those who are able to handle and reprocess the material efficiently.

Private and public sectors are increasing their investments in scrap recycling in India

Sustainability and climate change are increasingly being focused on by the various states and central government in India, not to mention the people. In 2019, Tata Steel launched its initiative to build India’s first steel scrap recycling plant and we will be supplying a TexasShredder™ PS metal shredder and a ferrous downstream separation plant. This will mark the beginning of a very interesting time for the whole metal recycling industry in India.

When the current discussions and policies fully are implemented, India will have brought its recycling activities to the level we see in more mature markets. This offers great business opportunities in several industries, and we at Metso are proud to be supporting the reaching of common goals on sustainability.


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Keegan Vas

Sales Area Manager, Metal Recycling

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