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Will Waste to Energy in India see a Boom similar to Solar Energy with 72 million tons of daily waste

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Waste to Energy in India

India’s solar energy sector has seen a massive scale up in the last one and a half years, with expectations that the annual run rate of solar installations will reach 10 GW by 2017 up from 1 GW in 2014. This is a gargantuan increase and has been brought about by the active intervention of the central government. Waste to Energy in India has been stuck in a coma, despite there being 3-4 plants built in the past 15-20 years. Most of the WTE plants have failed due to a wide variety of issues. The problems of environmental pollution, expensive technology and unsuitable raw material have been the key issues dogging this sector. There is also a problem that there is no uniform scheme of giving concessions for WTE plants and tariffs. Unlike solar energy which has a standard technology in the form of silicon panel technology, WTE uses a wide variety of technologies sourced from outside India. The raw material processing is also quite different.

The technology buying not only increases the cost, but is also unsuitable for Indian conditions in most cases. Municipal governments which are in charge of waste collection and disposal are one of the most inefficient, incapable and corrupt parts of the Indian governance structure. To deal with the complexities of WTE ecosystem is simply beyond them. However, WTE is needed for India’s energy starved and growing cities. 72 million tons of waste are being generated daily. With increasing urbanization this volume will only grow with time. In my estimation there is an urgent requirement of more than 100 WTE. Dumping of waste in landfills is reaching its capacity and there have been heavy protests by locals, who do not want waste dumped near their houses.

The Indian government is trying to boost the sector, with CERC coming up with a standard tariff to be given to the electricity generated by WTE plants in the country. The state governments can use this as a reference to award tenders to private players who will bring in their own capex and technology to set up WTE plants. Note the problem with WTE is not demand or use, but simply governance which is sadly lacking. Most countries are successfully running many WTE plants, as there is no other solution to the problem of tons of waste being generated. The Indian government also needs to make it mandatory for consumers to sort the waste from dry and wet waste.

There are already companies such as Attero Recycling, Karma, GPS Renewables etc. which have got into this space. Besides WTE, electronic waste recycling is another massive opportunity. The use of electronics is growing at an exponential pace with increasing penetration of smartphones, TVs and tablets. This has to be recycled and the government has already come up with draft regulations saying that producers will be responsible.

Source –TOI

In order to implement waste management policies effectively, the environment ministry has come out with four separate draft rules for managing municipal solid waste, e-waste (computers, mobiles or other electronic/electrical gadgets), plastic waste and medical waste and sought opinion of public\experts\stakeholders within 60 days before fine-tuning and notifying those rules for implementation across the country.

Specifying responsibilities of managing e-waste, the rules say that the producers can take the responsibility of e-waste management either individually or collectively. They will be expected to provide contact details such as address, telephone numbers or helpline number of collection center to consumers so as to facilitate return of used electrical and electronic equipment. Manufacturers\producers will also be required to create a ‘Deposit Refund Scheme’ wherein a portion of sale price shall be retained by producer and refundable to the consumer once the ‘end of life products’ are channelized in prescribed manner.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Sandeep

    Hi Sneha,

    Let us know the procedure to get registration with DPCB for collection center in Delhi.