National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP) is still in “Draft” mode but Maharashtra government has set the ball rolling by announcing its intention to set up vehicle recycling plant in Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It may be recalled here that last month, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change had issued a Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy for comments from the stakeholders and concerned citizens. Now the MMRDA has come out with an RFP for of Consultant for conducting project feasibility study, preparation of detailed project report and bid process management for the implementation of vehicle recycling plant in MMR.
According to some experts, its not just the Resource Efficiency Policy but also the transitionary phase in which the automotive sector is must have prompted the state government to go cracking on recycling plants. Government’s decision to phase out conventional vehicles (run on petrol & diesel) and roll out electrical vehicles also an important event in automobile industry which may have disruptive implications and produce large number of discarded vehicles. The government has demonstrated a strong commitment in introducing electric mobility in India and targets to increase the share of electric vehicles from its current level of less than 1% to nearly 30 % by 2030 while the share of electric buses is expected to reach as high as 100%. Thus, there is every possibility of vehicles on dump yard outnumbering those on roads in coming years.
The automotive sector, comprising of the automobile and auto component manufacturers, contributes to more than 7% to India’s national income and accounts for 7-8% of India’s total employed population.
Total material demand for internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) is expected to increase from 14 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes by 2030. EVs will also require many newer materials for enhanced performance over ICEVs, particularly for manufacturing batteries and powertrain. Since the volume of production of electric vehicles that run on lithium batteries is currently limited, the demand for related materials is currently insignificant.
Central Pollution Control Board has estimated that more than 8.7 million vehicles had reached the end-of-life vehicle (ELV) status in 2015, and by 2025, the number of ELVs is estimated to reach over 21 million. Further, the recent ban on diesel vehicles by the National Green Tribunal implies that more vehicles will soon end up as ELVs. These vehicles usually end up reaching the un-organised dismantling centres. Auto components are either refurbished or sent for recycling. Efficiency of material recovery is very low due to inefficient dismantling. CPCB had issued guidelines to regulate the sector in an environmentally friendly manner, recommending a system of “shared responsibility” involving all stakeholders – including government, manufacturers, dealers, insurers, consumers and recyclers. The guidelines also state that if large quantities of metal and other materials present in ELVs are salvaged or recycled, it can once again be used by various sectors, thus reducing the demand for virgin raw materials.
Price volatility, dwindling domestic materials availability and sharp increases in imports of critical materials, calls for tapping opportunities in improving material consumption along their value chain through resource use, recovery and recycling. Perhaps Maharashtra is one of the first states to move in that direction. MMRDA hopes complete the entire process of selection and appointment of consultant by middle of next month.