One man’s scrap is another man’s gold – scrap recycling business in India

Nothing is trivial in the world. This statement holds equally good for businesses as well. we rush to buy the newly launched mobile phones, laptops, dresses, jewelry in fashion because it offers value to our money. Value is a perception which lies in the beholder’s eyes. It is true that valuable goods offer good value to money, but it is also true that scrap also offers good value if processed in the right way.

Scrap recycling business is one of the allied industry which goes side by side with mainstream industries. In India, scrap industry pegged around neatly $400 millions in last year. Scrap industry is expected to grow in the future as industrial activities will grow further due to government initiatives like ‘Make In India’ and ‘Startup India’. Besides that, India’s position as the most suitable emerging market in the world will attract foreign capital inflows in long-term which will augment production industry growth rate resulting to further growth in the scrap industry.

Scrap items can be classified based upon the scrap you collect for further processing. Before starting the business, you need to find out the item on which you want to start your business. Generally, broken metallic utensils, broken cars body, discarded plastic items, discarded electronic instruments, scraped electrical items are collected and processed with the motive of converting them to something which offers value. Scrap recycling business upholds the philosophy that value can be restored in many things that we consider not important anymore.

Steps of scrap recycling business

  • Metal Recycling:

Recycling business has been classified into many sub-activities. A business plan focused towards a single activity or all the activity may turn out to be a profitable business. The level of activities that a businessman gets into depends upon several factors like availability of capital, labor, transport, profitable market etc. Scrap metal recycling business can be classified into the following activities:

  • Segregation of metals
  • Cleaning the dirt out of it
  • Refining the metals
  • Melting it
  • Giving the desired shape
  •  polishing it.

After collecting the scrap from various scrap yard and debris, the first activity is to segregate the metal out of the scrap. In this step, manual labor is employed to accomplish this task. After segregating metals, it is processed for further cleaning to remove other gross impurities out of it. As soon as the gross impurities are removed, scrap metals are sent for the chemical purification process to ensure that chemical impurities are duly removed. Now, the pure metals are melted and given appropriate shapes and polished before marketing it.

  • Waste Paper Recycling:

In case of the waste paper recycling business, you need to develop adequate infrastructure to implement required activity in an efficient manner. A paper recycling business consists of the following activities.

  • Collection of waste papers
  • Transporting it to the recycling plant
  • segregation of papers in accordance with their grade of quality
  • Washing the papers to remove inks and dirt from it
  • Mixing water to create the slurry
  • Adding various ingredients to create different types of papers
  • Drying the papers
  • Sending it to the shop

At the very first stage, waste papers are collected from various locations and dumped into a single place. In India, this type of work is performed by unskilled labor. Collected waste papers are periodically sent to recycling plants for processing. At the very first step of processing, papers are segregated in accordance with their grades. After that, those papers are dumped into a big chamber filled with soap water and specific chemicals to wash out inks and dirt. Now, the cleaned up water-soaked papers are further processed with water to prepare the slurry. the slurry is divided into many parts and ingredients are mixed with them to prepare various qualities of paper. Now, the slurry is thinned to sheets of various thickness and dimension with the help of a roller. As soon as the sheets are ready they are allowed certain hours to dry and thereafter, papers are rolled and sent to stores.

  • Plastic Recycling:

Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products. Since the vast majority of plastic is non-biodegradable, recycling is a part of global efforts to reduce plastic in the waste stream, especially the approximately 8 million tons of waste plastic that enters the Earth’s ocean every year.  Compared with lucrative recycling of metal, and similar to the low value of glass, plastic polymers recycling is often more challenging because of low density and low value. Plastics are processed and recycled in the following three processes which are the most used processes among other processes.

  • Thermal depolymerization
  • Heat compression
  • Distributed recycling


Every business needs to have a market for its product. The same rule applies to the scrap business as well. Before setting p the business and operating, a feasibility study must be conducted to determine the profitability and of the project. Scrap recycling business requires significant capital infusion to avail the facilities of the recycling plant, labors, and transportation. Therefore, sufficient financial arrangements need to be made to finance capital expenditure and meet working capital needs. Besides the finance, you need to get the necessary approvals from appropriate authorities such as environmental clearance before starting the business.



I am Koushik Das, and I live in Kolkata, India. I am a passionate personal finance blogger at
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