NITI Aayog pushes mandatory use of 25% recycled material in infra projects

is recommending the use of at least 25 per cent recycled metals, plastic and paper in India’s large projects, in order to reduce cost without compromising on project quality and will promote the tenable use of such material. This, it says, will be in line with the global move to promote the use of secondary products.

Speaking at a webinar organised by Material Association of India (MRAI) on Wednesday, Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer of Niti Aayog, said, “We will urge the government to make 25 per cent use of recycled products such as metals, plastics and paper in large projects to promote secondary producers across India.”

Currently, secondary producers hardly find space in large projects due to the strong presence of primary products, which match supply prices with secondary producers. Recycled materials do not lose any physical or chemical properties and can therefore compete with primary products. Using recycled products to the extent of 25 per cent may reduce raw material cost of the project by at least 10-15 per cent.

Stressing on the need for policy support, Kant said, “The industry needs a separate model ministry which should not be regulatory but should be developmental. The industry does not get proper attention due to the absence of a parent ministry. Since is a wealth creator, we will extend all possible support from various ministries to the betterment of the industry in India.”

“Realising the value of recycling, China imported duty-free scrap as raw material from across the world in the past 50 years and has become the biggest producer of metal, plastic, paper and other valuable materials that have made that country truly ‘Atmanirbhar’. Now they are generating sufficient scrap on their own and also exporting finished and semi-finished goods to other nations. Now it is our turn. But for that, the recycling industry needs policy support,” said Sanjay Mehta, President, MRAI.

Unlike most other parts of the world, where import duty on scrap is ‘nil’ to promote recycling, India has levied 2.5 per cent of customs duty on it. On the other hand, finished-product imports from Asian countries attract ‘zero’ customs under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), causing an inverse duty structure for secondary producers in India.

“The industry has been looking forward to a national recycling policy for two years. Developmental work in the recycling industry has stopped in the absence of such a policy. Promoting the recycling industry would reduce our dependence on finite, non-renewable virgin natural resources, which can be saved for future generations,” said Mehta.

Surendra Patawari, a member at the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership and president of Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry, believes that recycling industry needs an urgent government’s attention.

Interestingly, 60 per cent of plastics used in India gets recycled. To match quality of global standard, there is an urgent need to upgrade plant and machinery.

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