Specifically, the project’s activities will foster the efficient and sustainable use of resources in India. Four sectors have been selected for study: building and construction; e-waste and plastic waste via the role of extended producer responsibility (EPR); mobility (focus on hybrid/electric mobility); and, renewable energy (solar photovoltaics).
These sectors have been selected keeping in view the large volume of resources they consume and also rapid growth rates projected.
(i) Mobility (Electric and Hybrid vehicles)
- The Government of India has introduced the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 which is expected to transform the automotive and transportation industry. By 2020, nearly 6-7 million electric vehicles (EVs) will ply on Indian roads.
- Till March 2016, 4 lakh EVs were sold across the country, an increase of 37% from 2014-15 (Sarkar & Nigam, 2017).
- Rare earths are critical materials for batteries and electric car motors, and most of these have to be imported by India.
- Linear shifting from combustion engines to EVs alone will not address the environmental impacts that arise from extraction, production, material processing, usage of vehicles as well as dismantling and disposal. There is a need to look at the entire life-cycle of the product.
- These figures suggest the importance of examining the resource consumption patterns and availability of primary and secondary raw materials. The resource recovery, environmental impacts of EV’s, and end-of-life management would be the focus areas of the project interventions.
(ii) Building and Construction
- The sector’s material demand (soil, sand, stone, limestone) is largest in the country after agriculture, and accounts for 23.6% of the country‘s CO2 emissions (Planning Commission, 2014).
- 70% of building stock that will be in use in 2030 is yet to be constructed, and urbanisation remains a major driver of resource consumption in construction (NRDC-ASCI-Shakti, 2012)
- Two particular schemes of the Government of India, the Smart Cities scheme and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) offer great opportunities for resource efficiency and secondary resource utilization.
- Initiative will focus on the use of alternative input materials including secondary raw materials derived from construction and demolition waste.
(iii) Renewable Energy (Photovoltaics)
- India targets 100 GW of solar power by 2022, including 40 GW of grid-connected solar rooftop systems to address climate change commitments.
- Photovoltaic (PV) waste could average 50,000-320,000 tonnes by 2030, possibly culminating in 4.4 -7.5 million tonnes by 2050 (IRENA and IEA-PVPS, 2016).
- Demand for metals and rare earths such as Indium is on the rise on account of their use in solar PV systems, but their supply is scarce.
- The project will develop an understanding on the material consumption to meet the demand of PV generation and environmentally sound management of end-of-life solar panels and batteries.
(iv) Waste (Plastics & Packaging and E-waste with a focus on Extended Producer Responsibility)
- 15.3 tonnes of plastic waste per annum (CPCB, 2014-2015); 1.8 million metric tonnes of electronic waste per annum (Assocham-cKinetics, 2016) is generated in India. The CPCB (2013) estimates that 70% of plastic packaging products are converted into waste in a very short time span.
- The Plastics and E-waste Rules 2016 notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), highlight Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as a principle for waste management.
- The initiative will support the implementation of EPR as an enabling framework to encourage producers and manufacturers to consider product design and material substitution for efficient resource recovery.