ACC and Ambuja Cement, two leading Indian cement companies controlled by Holcim, are together forming a separate waste management company — Geocycle India — that aims to add Rs 100 crore to the parent company’s bottomline per year by 2011. Geocycle India plans to invest Rs 70-80 crore in the next three years.
“There is big business opportunity worth Rs 3,000-4,000 crore in waste management here,” says ACC waste management business head RK Suri, adding that “the cost incurred in waste disposal in the country is just one-fifth of what it is abroad.” According to estimates, almost 8 to 9 million tones of hazardous and close to 100 million tonnes of non-hazardous waste is generated in India every year.
Cement makers in general deal with industrial waste in the form of fly ash and slag as raw material for cement. Fly ash and slag are generated by power and steel companies respectively. But ACC has now started using other waste as a replacement for fuel.
Last year, the company handled 5,00,000 tonnes of mixed waste, other than fly ash and slag. ACC removes waste from the industrial sites and uses it in its plants for generating heat. This replacement of high-cost fuel with low-cost waste helped ACC add Rs 20-25 crore to its bottomline previous year.
“Every waste has a particular temperature needed for its disposal. At a cement plant, we have the full spectrum of temperature. So the waste gets disintegrated and locked into the complex compound of cement in our plant,” says Mr Suri.
Waste generating firms pay ACC for removing waste from their premises, which is generally less than the money they are expected to pay to those operating incinerators or landfills. Mr Suri says, ACC’s waste management business would be hived off next year. Ambuja Cement will also have a stake in the new company, slated to be called Geocycle India. “With a separate company coming into existence, we will have a larger opportunity to tap. We can serve other companies in cement, steel and any other high energy consuming sector,” says Mr Suri.
“Also, the movement of waste, especially hazardous, from one state to another is very difficult. Therefore, if we have waste in one state we should be able to find a client to dispose that off in the same state only,” he added.