Plastic, E-waste, and Battery Recycling: A $20 Billion Market Set to Transform the Circular Economy

A recent report titled “Circular Economy: Recycling Waste To Wealth” by Avendus Capital reveals that the market for plastics, e-waste, and battery recycling is expected to soar to a combined value of approximately $20 billion by 2030.

The report sheds light on the concept of a “circular economy,” a revolutionary approach aimed at creating a regenerative system that eliminates the idea of “end-of-life” for materials, while reshaping consumption and manufacturing processes.

Avendus Capital’s findings emphasize the growing momentum of the Circular Economy approach, driven by the increasing focus on environmental concerns and regulatory measures to promote sustainability.

Koushik Bhattacharyya, Managing Director and Head of Industrials Investment Banking at Avendus Capital, emphasises the significance of sustainability in today’s business landscape. He states, “We believe that the recycling sector is at an inflection point owing to the rising focus on sustainability and the regulatory push. Businesses are realising that being sustainable is the right thing to do, and it also improves their perceived value among all stakeholders, with customers increasingly choosing brands based on their sustainability credentials and investors doubling down on their ESG mandates.”

Highlighting the e-waste market in India, the report reveals that globally, an estimated 59 million metric tons of e-waste will be generated in 2022, with only around 18 percent being recycled. In India alone, 5.8 million metric tons of e-waste were created in FY23, with the organised sector processing 15 percent of it. However, accurately calculating the total amount of e-waste generated is challenging due to many electronics and appliances being reconditioned and resold before being discarded.

The report predicts that the e-waste recycling business will witness a substantial 23 percent expansion, reaching a value of USD 7.5 billion by 2030.

Turning to the battery recycling market, the report anticipates significant growth, with a value of around $2 billion by 2030. Batteries play a vital role in electric vehicles (EVs), accounting for a substantial portion of their cost, approximately 30-50 percent. Ashish Ahuja, Vice President of Industrial Investment Banking at Avendus Capital, projects that India’s plastic waste recycling industry will grow at a CAGR of 24 percent, reaching USD 10.2 billion by FY30. This growth will be fueled by the increasing use of recyclable plastics, exponential demand in e-commerce and quick commerce packaging, as well as their use in light weighting products.

The report also highlights the plastic recycling market in India, where an estimated 13 million metric tons of plastic waste are generated, with 60 percent being recycled. However, the remaining plastic waste either ends up in landfills or is incinerated. In FY23, the Indian plastic waste recycling industry was valued at $2.3 billion, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24 percent, reaching $10.2 billion by FY30.

Overall, the Avendus Capital report underscores the immense potential and market opportunities within the recycling sectors of plastics, e-waste, and battery recycling. With a growing focus on sustainability and the adoption of circular economy principles, these industries are poised for substantial growth, aligning economic development with environmental conservation.