New Delhi: Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog today emphasized on the need for developing and adopting the Circular Economy (CE) in our system, which will also help India post- COVID. “The green recovery post-COVID would not just help us to tackle environmental challenges like climate change, it would also help economic recovery through creation of jobs and opportunities,” he added.
Addressing the virtual ‘FICCI Circular Economy Symposium 2020’, Mr Kant said that COVID-19 is a reminder of the vulnerabilities built into the present system. “The new paradigm emphasises on taking a comprehensive view on products and processes to achieve minimization of recourse use. The world is increasingly becoming conscious to the pattern and efficiencies of resource usage. The convergence of different disciplines including industrial ecology, environmental, sustainability, and end of life of products, have all evolved to an overarching vision of CE.”
He further said that within the CE, material recycling offers a paradigm shift from the conventional recycling techniques of incineration and land filling by transforming EOL products, scraps and wastes into useful raw materials to be fed back to the economy instead of being disposed in landfills, etc.
Mr Kant added that the recycling industry is closely integrated in different commodity sectors driven by basic supply and demand. Material recycling is one of the building blocks of resource efficient Circular Economy. Many countries have initiated a way forward towards promoting the CE through organized recycling to attain sustainable development. “Scrap materials are not waste; recyclable material is a resource. They have an important role in economy and sustainable development,” added Mr Kant.
Highlighting the potential of plastic recycling, Mr Kant said that managing plastic waste continues to be a challenge and within this segment, the management of multi layered plastic is a bigger challenge.
“Domestic consumption is about 15 million tons and estimated recycling capacity is just 2.35 million tons. Therefore, recycling continues to be in the informal and unregistered units. Low household segregation and weak collection and transportation system that supports the segregation inhibit the recycling of plastic and high plastic recycling rates need to be achieved in an environmentally sound manner,” he noted.
Complimenting FICCI on the release of ‘Strategies for Sustainable Plastics Packaging in India- A USD 100 billion Opportunity till 2030’, Mr Kant said that in India, we consume around 10 million tons of plastic packaging each year amounting to $13 billion in value. “Currently, we are capturing only a fraction of this value due to number of reasons like poor packaging design, low wastes collection and inefficient recycling, etc. If the current state continues, in the next 10 years we will be losing around $133 billion,” he added.
He also said that the report presents an approach to capture $100 billion lost through eight high value interventions. To realize this value, we must take a holistic value chain approach from reducing consumption in designing better packaging to reusing as much as we can,” he asserted.
Mr Ugo Astuto, EU Ambassador to India said that resource efficiency and Circular Economy are among the most crucial issues for the future of society worldwide when resources are scarce. He also stated that India and EU need to develop a new economic paradigm centred around sustainability.
Mr Anirban Ghosh, Chair, FICCI National Circular Economy Committee & Chief Sustainability Officer, Mahindra Group said while highlighting the examples of infinitely recyclable materials like plastics and lithium batteries, he said that number of materials that are infinitely recyclable are increasing and there is a lot that needs to be done in this sector.
Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that Circular Economy provides huge opportunities especially for the business sector and for the society at large. FICCI will act as a catalyst by increasing collaborations with the government, industry and multilaterals.
Mr Willem Uijen, Executive Director, Supply Chain, HUL said that the company is committed to include plastics in the Circular Economy, reduce plastic litter and make it compostable by 2025 with a focus on improving the livelihoods.
Mr Janardhanan Ramanujalu, Vice President, Regional Head ? South Asia & Australia, SABIC said that Circular Economy has been in practice for long, the only question is the scale and extent to which we can develop it further. Consumer demand is an important driver of recyclability, he added.