Indian businesses make the best out of waste

Debabrata Das Tomojit Basu New Delhi | Updated on September 16, 2014

Rising prices: Traders say bagasse or sugarcane waste is selling at around Rs 2,000 a tonne.

Demand for scrap steel and sugarcane waste pushes their prices near actual commodity

Recycling has become the mantra for Indian businesses. Prices for scrap steel as well as sugarcane wastes are nearing the rates of the actual commodity itself.

Despite average price of scrap steel increasing to nearly ₹26,000 a tonne during the first quarter of 2014-15, its sale has been on rise.

Limited iron ore availability has led to an increase in steel produced with steel scraps though electric arc furnaces.

Although iron ore is cheaper at ₹3,160 a tonne for fines and ₹ 4,600 a tonne for lumps sold by NMDC, mining bans in Goa and Karnataka have hit the availability.

According to BIR World Recycling Association, “Indian mills bought significantly more scrap towards the end of May and in early June this year, although this is said to have more to do with domestic iron ore availability rather than strong demand for steel.”

“The higher demand for scraps has seen prices go up around ₹1,000 a tonne since last week. If the trend continues the scrap prices will be almost the same as finished steel prices in a few weeks time,” said Atul Tandon, a metal trader in Raipur.

Scrap leader

India, which bought 6.9 million tonne of scrap steel, was amongst its top three buyers.

However, imports dropped nearly 45 per cent to 3.8 mt in 2013-14. An official of the Steel Re-rolling Mills Association of India said the scrap market will back to normal by September.

“Significant volumes (of scrap steel) are still at Nhava Sheva port awaiting collection by the steel mills,” the official said.

Nearly 45 per cent of India’s steel manufacturers do not require iron ore as their furnaces depend on scrap metal.


For a commodity like sugarcane, the price of the waste product has already reached as much as the commodity itself.

The Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane is set by the Central Government but States are free to adopt a State Advised Price.

The State Advised Price varied between roughly ₹2,200-2,400 a tonne in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and ₹2,800 a tonne in Uttar Pradesh.

Traders across the country say bagasse or sugarcane waste — used in bio-gas based power plants and paper mills — is already selling at around ₹2,000 a tonne.

“Bagasse is usually used as a fuel, sugar and paper industries are the primary buyers of the product. Sugar factories sometimes sell their excess bagasse at about ₹2,000 per tonne,” said a spokesperson for Riga Sugar Company in Kolkata.

In Gujarat, bagasse prices have reached ₹3,000 a tonne according to Thacker Trading Company in Bhuj.

Published on September 16, 2014

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