Making Waste to Wealth A Reality

India’s Construction Sector is ready to embrace the Circular Economy principles, which are being driven by government policies, innovative entrepreneurs, and responsible businesses – all of whom hold the key to a sustainable future. The circular model, designed to encourage waste recycling and converting waste into a valuable resource, and transition to renewable resources, will benefit both the country’s economy and the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution.

the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

India, home to 1.3 billion people, faces pressing resource constraints in the wake of rapid urbanization and environmental challenges. The urban population is expected to grow to 600 million by 2030 and 814 million by 2050. A report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reveals that India generates 62 million tons of waste every year, of which 70% is collected, 12 million tons is treated, and 31 million is dumped in landfill sites. The average collection efficiency of municipal solid waste (MSW) ranges from 22% to 60%. As per Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India report, India is set to generate 165 million tons of waste by 2030 and 436 million tons by 2050.

To address the issue of overflowing landfills, the Indian government is seriously imbibing the concept of a circular economy - deemed a sustainable, restorative and a regenerative approach to economic growth and sustenance, with benefits to industry, society, and the environment. Unlike the traditional linear economy, which follows a ‘take-make-dispose’ model, a circular economy operates on the principles of reuse, reduce, recycle, refurbish, repair, and re-manufacture.

Government policies driving change

The Government of India has set up 11 committees to accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economy in areas like municipal waste, electronic waste, and agriculture waste. SEBI’s new guidelines mandate companies to disclose their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance, in promoting sustainability. Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs) will fund green projects and reduce the economy’s carbon intensity.

Municipal solid waste is categorized as wet waste, dry waste and construction & demolition waste. Recognizing the urgency of finding solutions for their disposal, the Government has implemented Plastic Waste Management Rules, Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016, and other policies. The government’s circular economy agenda for handling municipal solid and liquid waste has given it a significant push at the national, state and city levels with the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) in 2014.

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has time and again stressed the importance of constructing sustainable business models. According to him, waste materials can be converted into a usable resource in infrastructure development; for instance, the Road Ministry is successfully using waste plastic and steel slag to build sustainable roads. He has urged the development of homegrown technologies in the field of energy, electric highways, and sustainable utilization of mining wastelands. He has proposed using bamboo for afforestation of wastelands and as an alternative fuel source and highlighted the potential of hydrogen from water and ethanol. Adopting a circular economy will bring down the costs of manufacturing and imports significantly; for instance, recycling metals like copper and aluminum can decrease auto component manufacturing expenses by 20-25%.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology
Making an observation on the development of the revolutionary steel slag road technology by CSIR-CRRI, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, said that use of steel slag in paving roads also addresses the problem of environmental degradation caused by waste steel slag and unsustainable mining and quarrying of natural aggregates. He informed that Surat is the first city in the country to get a processed steel slag road; while NHAI has successfully tested the technology on NH-66 (Mumbai- Goa), and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has used steel slag of Tata Steel to construct a heavy-duty road in Arunachal Pradesh. Steel slag roads cost about 30% less, are more durable, and resistant to weather vagaries.

Transiting from linear to a circular economy

The Government advocates for 7Rs of circular economy which includes Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redesign, Remanufacture, Refurbish, and Repair. These should be considered as guiding principles while designing business parks, industrial clusters, manufacturing facilities, SEZs, etc.

Success stories abound with states like Chhattisgarh having attained zero-landfill, and cities like Indore practising 100% source segregation of waste. Scientists at CSIR-CRRI and NPL are developing technologies for converting multi-layered plastics and fly ash into high-quality tiles and other construction materials. Industrial waste such as red mud and blast furnace slag is already finding use in geopolymers and aggregates. Entrepreneur Dr. Binish Desai, known as the ‘Recycle Man of India’ for pioneering innovative solutions for waste management, has come up with his latest invention Brick 2.0 by repurposing discarded face masks into bricks, a solution to the plastic crisis.

However, implementation of such solutions and technologies is painfully slow, with only a few cities boasting of solid and C&D waste processing facilities.

the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

Concrete steps toward Circular Construction Waste Management

Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste not only poses environmental threats but also burdens businesses with financial implications. Costs associated with waste management, waste disposal fees and transportation add up, affecting project budgets. Additionally, inefficiencies caused by improper waste management lead to project delays, decreased productivity, and increased labor costs.

In the construction industry, sensitisation of recycling C&D waste is gaining momentum due to the rising cost of construction materials like sand, stone, and gravel, in addition to the cost of labour and waste disposal. This scenario strongly favours the use of secondary raw materials which can be recovered from the waste stream and reused in all applicable areas across the construction sector.

India established its first plant for recycling construction waste in 2010 and today there are around 400 C&D waste recycling plants. Recently, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) initiated trial runs for its largest C&D waste plant in Burari. The facility, known as Delhi Burari, has a capacity to process 2,000 tons of waste daily, making it the largest C&D Waste Recycling Plant in Asia. With one of the world’s most advanced technologies, the plant produces various grades of output material with utmost precision. The material generated from the C&D waste includes stone aggregate, coarse sand and sprained soil and are utilised in making tiles, CC Blocks and interlocking paver blocks. With the full operation of its all four plants, MCD will be able to process 5,500 tonnes waste per day, 1.5 lakh C&D waste per month and 18 lakh tonne per year, which is close to the (requirement of) waste generated in the city (20 lakh tonnes per day).

Moreover, Indian businesses and Start-ups are also making a concerted effort to use recycled and renewable resources to reduce their energy consumption and trash pile ups. The establishment of the largest plastic recycling plant in India by the Shakti Plastic Industries and LyondellBasell is a commendable step towards plastic waste recycling, and for creating employment opportunities.

Erode-based solid waste management firm Zigma Global Environ Solutions is carrying out biomining to segregate and process accumulated solid waste at Ariyamangalam - the biggest dumping yard in Tiruchi. A sum of ₹25 crore was sanctioned for phase II of the project to clear over 3.3 lakh cubic meters of waste under the Smart Cities Mission initiative.

By enforcing waste management across industries, taking a systemized approach, and with favourable economic conditions, India has the wherewithal to become a sustainable manufacturing hub in the coming years. The process may be painfully slow and may take years to achieve fully, but embracing a circular economy will benefit the country at large.

This feature explores how the Construction Industry is adopting circular economy principles and following sustainable construction practices, given that recycled construction materials offer a practical solution to our depleting natural resources and rising cost of traditional building materials. It highlights the current scenario, identifies key challenges and gaps in government policies, and the initiatives being taken by environmentally responsible companies.

Experts from environment-focused organizations like CSE, TERI, Niti Aayog, waste management companies and construction industry stalwarts give insights into the economic and environmental impact of construction waste, financial implications of improper waste management, such as increased project costs, delays, and decreased productivity, and the solutions being offered by waste recycling equipment manufacturers. But all the stakeholders will have to walk the talk to make the government’s ‘Waste to Wealth’ mission a success.

Shalini Goyal Bhalla - NITI Aayog
Shalini Goyal Bhalla
The concept of a circular economy involves designing out waste and keeping materials and products in use for as long as possible, thereby minimizing the consumption of resources and reducing environmental impacts. The construction industry has been ... Read More
Mohan Ramanathan - Advanced Construction Technologies
Mohan Ramanathan
Our PM has set an ambitious target of zero emissions by 2070 and based on the announcement, many corporates have set their own targets to reach Net Zero within their spheres of activity. As far as the Construction Industry is concerned, there are no signs ... Read More
Sanjay Seth - TERI & Vice President & CEO, GRIHA Council
Sanjay Seth
As we know, the construction industry is significantly resource intensive and is leading to mass deforestation, depletion of non-renewable resources, extensive mining and many such critical global impacts. With the construction activities increasing manifold ... Read More
Sushil Kumar - UPMRCL
Sushil Kumar
We can significantly improve sustainability levels by minimizing material waste. In UPMRCL, collection, segregation, storage and disposal of different types of waste are done as per legal norms. Organic waste management is undertaken by the installation ... Read More
Abhijeet Pai - Puzzolana Group
Abhijeet Pai
The Indian Government has been actively formulating policies and promoting projects to drive the country towards a circular economy. It is encouraging the construction industry to use alternative energy sources like solar and wind power, and to reuse plastic ... Read More
Mohak Gupta – Development Alternatives
Mohak Gupta
In light of growing pressures from indiscriminate resource extraction and consumption, mounting heaps of various kinds of wastes, and the looming challenge of climate change, circular economy approaches now offer sustainable alternatives for the construction ... Read More
Amol Sinha - Director, Product Support & Training, Terex India
Amol Sinha
The government and industry can help create a more sustainable future by reducing waste and conserving resources, and by promoting / encouraging use of recycled materials. They can make recycling more convenient, for instance, by providing more ... Read More
Binish Desai - Eco Eclectic Tech
Binish Desai
The construction industry has always been open to exploring alternatives in green building materials and reducing wastage in the process. But there have been many challenges in the process due to the heavy reliance on cement, which is one of the biggest ... Read More
Swaminathan Dhandapani - etrack Crushers
Swaminathan Dhandapani
At Keestrack Group, we understand the growing importance of the circular economy in the modern business landscape. We actively adapt and promote sustainability and our focus is on reducing waste at every stage of design and manufacturing, so that ... Read More
Hardik Panchal - Director, Hardy Smith
Hardik Panchal
Responsible Indian construction companies are consciously adopting green building practices by selecting and using eco-friendly and recycled materials in their projects, especially, post RERA implementation. Increasing use of materials those can be ... Read More
Mahesh Girdhar - EverEnviro Resource Management
Mahesh Girdhar
The circular economy concept emphasizes reducing, reusing, and recycling resources in a closed-loop system. The infra and construction industry plays a critical role in the circular economy and has a considerable environmental impact. It requires a vast ... Read More
Manish Bhartia - Promoter & Managing Director cfloworld.com
Manish Bhartia
The surge in infrastructure development has led to a sharp rise in demand for natural sand, creating a supply gap and putting strain on the environment. To address this issue, OEMs like us are actively seeking innovative ways to reduce reliance on virgin resources ... Read More
Angad Singh Bedi - BCD Group
Angad Singh Bedi
As the key growth driver for the country’s economy, the infra & construction industry has proactively embraced the basic philosophy of circular economy. Today, sustainability has become a necessity and the industry is taking actions that are aligned ... Read More
Prashant Singh - Blue Planet Environmental Solutions
Prashant Singh
Led by the guiding principles of the circular economy, the Infra Construction Industry is gradually transforming; it is recycling waste materials for their reusing in projects, embracing modular construction, and designing with deconstruction in mind ... Read More
Tarun Datta - Nish Earthmovers
Tarun Datta
Among different industries, the construction equipment industry (CE) attracts the most attention and plays a critical role in the circular economy transition because of its significant resource intensity. However, the industry is limited due to its unique ... Read More
Sooraj Cherukat - Hailstone Innovations
Sooraj Cherukat
Circular economy is considered the need of the century as a sustainable future and transformational development will depend on it. OEMs have a huge responsibility towards the concept of circular economy since ultimately, the lifetime of the machines will ... Read More
Ashish Goel - Finetech Recycling Private Limited
Ashish Goel
The government needs to take measures to fast track the adoption and utilization of recycled materials for a more sustainable future and to support the ‘waste to wealth’ mission. The Government should check the billing history of construction ... Read More
Ramesh Palagiri - Wirtgen India
Ramesh Palagiri
The total waste generated by any country is calculated on the basis of per capita waste generation. As per the latest estimate by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, we generate more than one lakh of waste per day in India (0.3 kg per capita ... Read More
Dr. Ambika Behl - Senior Principal Scientist at CSIR-CRRI, New Delhi
Dr. Ambika Behl
“Use of waste plastic in bitumen has shown improved performance, stability, strength, and a reduction in overall rutting in roads. Until now, India has almost 33,700 km of low volume plastic roads; as of 2021, 703 km of National Highways were constructed ... Read More
R S Raghavan - PROMAN Infrastructure Services
R S Raghavan
PROMAN has been closely watching the developments in the field of Construction and Demolition (C&D) recycling and metal recycling. To support the government policy regarding circular economy, we have successfully experimented with metal recycling ... Read More
R.V. Panchal, CMD & Soham Panchal, Director Operations - Neptune Industries
R.V. Panchal
The Indian construction industry is booming with real estate and infrastructure developments. Businesses are transforming from small and medium-scale plants to bigger plants with larger production capacities. However, the construction industry ... Read More
NBM&CW SEPTEMBER 2023
Planning Construction of Buildings, Community and Individual Housing, and Townships: Factors to be Considered

Planning Construction of Buildings, Community and Individual Housing, and Townships: Factors to be Considered

Construction is an inter-related complex of operations; hence it is essential to analyse each and every aspect during its planning. The architect/engineer must be aware of the latest construction technologies, new building materials in the market, the evolving

Read more ...

Shalini Goyal Bhalla - NITI Aayog

Shalini Goyal Bhalla - NITI Aayog

The concept of a circular economy involves designing out waste and keeping materials and products in use for as long as possible, thereby minimizing the consumption of resources and reducing environmental impacts. The construction industry has been

Read more ...

Mohan Ramanathan - Advanced Construction Technologies

Mohan Ramanathan - Advanced Construction Technologies

Our PM has set an ambitious target of zero emissions by 2070 and based on the announcement, many corporates have set their own targets to reach Net Zero within their spheres of activity. As far as the Construction Industry is concerned, there are no signs

Read more ...

Sanjay Seth -  TERI & Vice President & CEO, GRIHA Council

Sanjay Seth - TERI & Vice President & CEO, GRIHA Council

As we know, the construction industry is significantly resource intensive and is leading to mass deforestation, depletion of non-renewable resources, extensive mining and many such critical global impacts. With the construction activities increasing manifold

Read more ...

Sushil Kumar - UPMRCL

Sushil Kumar - UPMRCL

We can significantly improve sustainability levels by minimizing material waste. In UPMRCL, collection, segregation, storage and disposal of different types of waste are done as per legal norms. Organic waste management is undertaken by the installation

Read more ...

Abhijeet Pai -  Puzzolana Group

Abhijeet Pai - Puzzolana Group

The Indian Government has been actively formulating policies and promoting projects to drive the country towards a circular economy. It is encouraging the construction industry to use alternative energy sources like solar and wind power, and to reuse plastic

Read more ...

Mohak Gupta – Development Alternatives

Mohak Gupta – Development Alternatives

In light of growing pressures from indiscriminate resource extraction and consumption, mounting heaps of various kinds of wastes, and the looming challenge of climate change, circular economy approaches now offer sustainable alternatives for the construction

Read more ...

Amol Sinha - Director, Product Support & Training, Terex India

Amol Sinha - Director, Product Support & Training, Terex India

The government and industry can help create a more sustainable future by reducing waste and conserving resources, and by promoting / encouraging use of recycled materials. They can make recycling more convenient, for instance, by providing more

Read more ...

Binish Desai - Eco Eclectic Tech

Binish Desai - Eco Eclectic Tech

The construction industry has always been open to exploring alternatives in green building materials and reducing wastage in the process. But there have been many challenges in the process due to the heavy reliance on cement, which is one of the biggest

Read more ...

Swaminathan Dhandapani - etrack Crushers

Swaminathan Dhandapani - etrack Crushers

At Keestrack Group, we understand the growing importance of the circular economy in the modern business landscape. We actively adapt and promote sustainability and our focus is on reducing waste at every stage of design and manufacturing, so that

Read more ...

Hardik Panchal - Director, Hardy Smith

Hardik Panchal - Director, Hardy Smith

Responsible Indian construction companies are consciously adopting green building practices by selecting and using eco-friendly and recycled materials in their projects, especially, post RERA implementation. Increasing use of materials those can be

Read more ...

Mahesh Girdhar - EverEnviro Resource Management

Mahesh Girdhar - EverEnviro Resource Management

The circular economy concept emphasizes reducing, reusing, and recycling resources in a closed-loop system. The infra and construction industry plays a critical role in the circular economy and has a considerable environmental impact. It requires a vast

Read more ...

Manish Bhartia - Promoter & Managing Director cfloworld.com

Manish Bhartia - Promoter & Managing Director cfloworld.com

The surge in infrastructure development has led to a sharp rise in demand for natural sand, creating a supply gap and putting strain on the environment. To address this issue, OEMs like us are actively seeking innovative ways to reduce reliance on virgin resources

Read more ...

Angad Singh Bedi - BCD Group

Angad Singh Bedi - BCD Group

As the key growth driver for the country’s economy, the infra & construction industry has proactively embraced the basic philosophy of circular economy. Today, sustainability has become a necessity and the industry is taking actions that are aligned

Read more ...

Prashant Singh - Blue Planet Environmental Solutions

Prashant Singh - Blue Planet Environmental Solutions

Led by the guiding principles of the circular economy, the Infra Construction Industry is gradually transforming; it is recycling waste materials for their reusing in projects, embracing modular construction, and designing with deconstruction in mind

Read more ...

Tarun Datta - Nish Earthmovers

Tarun Datta - Nish Earthmovers

Among different industries, the construction equipment industry (CE) attracts the most attention and plays a critical role in the circular economy transition because of its significant resource intensity. However, the industry is limited due to its unique

Read more ...

Sooraj Cherukat - Hailstone Innovations

Sooraj Cherukat - Hailstone Innovations

Circular economy is considered the need of the century as a sustainable future and transformational development will depend on it. OEMs have a huge responsibility towards the concept of circular economy since ultimately, the lifetime of the machines will

Read more ...

Ashish Goel - Finetech Recycling Private Limited

Ashish Goel - Finetech Recycling Private Limited

The government needs to take measures to fast track the adoption and utilization of recycled materials for a more sustainable future and to support the ‘waste to wealth’ mission. The Government should check the billing history of construction

Read more ...

Ramesh Palagiri - Wirtgen India

Ramesh Palagiri - Wirtgen India

The total waste generated by any country is calculated on the basis of per capita waste generation. As per the latest estimate by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, we generate more than one lakh of waste per day in India (0.3 kg per capita

Read more ...

To get latest updates on whatsapp, Save +91 93545 87773 and send us a 'Saved' message
Click Here to Subscribe to Our eNewsletter.