Union Steel Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Saturday said his ministry will push primary steel producers to use 50 percent of their input from scrapped/recycled steel by 2047 to help achieve the government target of moving into a circular economy.
Currently, the level of recycled steel usage in primary steel production is only around 10 percent even though recycled steel contributes to 22.5 per cent of the domestic total steel production of 140 million tonnes, the minister said while addressing the last day of the three-day international conference of material recycling here.
The 10th conference is being organized by the Material Recycling Association of India and is attended by over 2,000 delegates from 38 countries.
Noting that recycling is the key cog in the wheel of manufacturing as economies move into a circular model of development, he said, ”Going forward the industry should focus on the 6Rs philosophy of reduce (exploitation of natural resources), recycle, reuse, recover, re-design and reinforce”.
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He said the government is committed to reducing CO2 emissions in the steel sector by 5 per cent by 2030 from the current 2.85 to 1.4 CO2/tonne of crude steel, and to achieve this recycling scrap steel is an extremely important source.
”Today, scrap usage is only 15 per cent in primary steel production. We will push the steel industry to increase this to 25 per cent in the next five years, and by 2047, this should double to 50 per cent. This means that the primary steel producers consume only 50 per cent of iron ore by then,” Scindia said.
This is needed as the natural resources are finite and the demand looks infinite, he said, adding the steel industry has the biggest role to play in the whole process.
The country currently produces 25 million tonne of scrap steel and annually imports 5 million tonne of scrap steel with zero import duty, he added.
The recycling industry is highly unorganised and is worth about USD 50 billion now. There are over 25,000 recycling units in the country. However, in the metals space almost 95 per cent are organised, Material Recycling Association president Sanjay Mehta said.
He also urged the minister to extend the duty-free imports of other scraps such as copper, aluminium, zinc and other metals as many countries are adopting no export of scrap policies now. For instance last month, the European Union imposed a ban on scrap exports, and so did the UAE.
Domestic recyclers used to import 25 per cent of their shipments from the EU markets. Similarly, the UAE is also a large source market for the country. Counties are discouraging exports of scraps as they move into the circular economy.