Budgetary Strategies for Recycling and Waste Reduction in the Circular Economy

By Rahul Singh

In the current economic landscape, the imperative to adopt sustainable practices has never been more pronounced. With almost 78% of the consumers preferring sustainable goods over traditional ones, the world is, in fact, witnessing a paradigm shift towards eco-conscious choices. And, in the collective global endeavor to accomplish sustainable development, the Indian Government, too, is adopting several strategies that can lead us to a circular economy.

India is producing a whopping 26 Million Tons of plastic waste every year1 and is now considered one of the largest plastic waste polluters in the world. Further, only a small quantity of our plastic waste is handled cogently by our municipal waste management infrastructure. The Indian government has banned the manufacture, sale and use of identified single-use plastic items like plates, cups, straws, trays, and polystyrene from Jul 1, 2022. – Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021

That being said, the Union Budget of 2023 embraced significant strides in promoting the transition of green energy into the country. To be precise, the budget allocated Rs. 53,000 crores to prioritize capital investments towards net zero objectives and energy transition. Other than this, the government also allocated Rs. 10,222 crore to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. And the government efforts are already showing the results with India being projected to continue to be the fastest-growing market for biodegradable plasticsduring 2021-20252.

Talking about our expectations for Union Budget 2024, it’s true that the government should be more inclined towards offering tax breaks to emerging brands that follow a sustainable model. Further, GST rationalization for green products can be a great incentive to level the playing field between the plastics and green products.  This would not only trigger substantial growth for these young brands via surges in capital investments but also encourage the huge supply of planet-safe choices to the never-ending consumer demand. However, as a co-founder of EcoSoul, one of the biggest category-disrupting consumer brands in India, I sternly believe that the allocations can go beyond providing tax breaks. To create a circular economy, the focus should also be on recycling and waste reduction.

If I talk numbers, the world is expected to generate 3.4 billion tons of waste by 2050, which would result in environmental pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and depletion of natural resources. So, besides just offering incentives and tax breaks to the emerging sustainable brands of India, several strategies that are more focused on creating a circular economy should also be integrated into the Union Budget 2024.

Moreover, the budget should also consider investing in infrastructures that make it easy for people to recycle their used products. For instance, cities can install public bins where people can drop off items that can be recycled. Besides just focusing on recycling infrastructures, the government should also prioritize waste reduction. This can be embraced by inaugurating composting facilities in multiple cities, supporting brands that embrace compostable products, and installing more bins that allow people to segregate their waste.

Other than this, brands that promote recycling by selling recycled products should also be supported, allowing substantial growth and heightened awareness among consumers.

In a nutshell, governments wield significant influence through the formulation of robust policy frameworks and incentives. Allocating budgetary resources to the development, implementation, and enforcement of policies that promote recycling and waste reduction is crucial. These policies may include extended producer responsibility programs, recycling targets, and incentives for businesses adopting circular economy practices. By investing in such initiatives, governments create a regulatory environment that encourages sustainable practices and holds businesses accountable for their environmental impact.


(The author is Rahul Singh Co-founder of EcoSoul Home, and the views expressed in this article are his own)