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B Lal Steel’s ambition: ‘Next step? A car shredder for Delhi’

A mature car recycling sector in India could generate EUR 5.7 billion per year, according to entrepreneur and businessman Vipan Garg. In 2019 he launched the country’s first car shredder in the state of Punjab. B Lal Steel Shredding is now looking to expand to other parts of India. ‘The biggest challenge that we are facing at the moment is the collection of vehicles,’ says Garg in an online chat with Recycling International.

The man behind India’s car recycling firm B Lal Steel works remotely, a mere 12 000 km from the company’s main facility. Vipan Garg lives in New Zealand, where he emigrated in the mid-90s and since when he has been involved in many businesses including retail, real estate, and… recycling. In 2011 Garg founded Auckland-based National Steel which concentrates on car recycling. The success of this company and its plant inspired Garg to set up a similar facility in India.

B Lal Steel is located outside Ludhiana, a major industrial city 300 km north of Delhi. It is close to Mandi Gobindgarh which is often referred to as India’s ‘mini steel town’ thanks to the presence of a large number of steel furnaces. B Lal Steel’s mega shredder is based on German/European emission standards and features the latest technology. According to Garg, the multi million euro facility can process up to 200 000 vehicles per year. ‘When we started operations in 2019 we were the first in India,’ he says proudly. ‘There was no other such shredder in the country until this year.’

TAKE US INSIDE THE PLANT – WHAT DO WE SEE?

Garg: ‘A modern state-of-the-art facility. The recycling process involves the removal and disposal of any kind of hazardous waste such as battery chemicals, fuel, oils and coolant followed by the dismantling of some parts. Then, the body of the vehicle is put into the shredder where it is processed into fist-sized pieces of metal. The metals are then segregated through the use of magnetic drums and eddy current separators.

The segregated metals, primarily steel, are then supplied to steel furnaces. B Lal Steel Shredding is a completely emission-free recycling facility. We have a de-dusting system installed at the plant for this purpose which helps in settling down any dust particles that may otherwise fly into the air. Our process has no contamination or pollution to air, water or land.’

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO INVEST?

‘I saw huge business opportunity along with a big need for sustainable solutions. In 2017 there was no formal structure in place in India to recycle ELVs. Discarded cars ended up at police stations, on random plots of land, left unused at home or taken to disorganised yards operating in unhealthy conditions without any kind of concern for the safety and environment.

Moreover, some parts are removed at such facilities and then put back into the used parts market which is highly risky considering the condition and life span of the vehicles from which they are taken. There is also a risk of the car being used for criminal activities as there is no evidence of…

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