Recycling Victoria Councils Fund Guidelines

1. Funding overview

The Recycling Victoria Councils Fund is a 4-year program designed to assist Victorian Councils and Alpine Resort Management Boards to implement projects which enable them to transition towards a circular economy.

Two funding streams are available in year one:

  • Stream 1: Feasibility – Enabling applicants to explore localised circular economy solutions.
    • Individual application: up to $20,000 to scope eligible project viability and contribute to establishing a business case for a project to be implemented in the future.
    • Collaborative Partnership application: up to $80,000 for a collaborative feasibility project between Councils and/or Alpine Resort Management Boards
  • Stream 2: Implementation – Enabling applicants to implement circular economy projects that have a feasibility study or have evidence the project is ready to implement, e.g. via a business case or a similar successful project which councils can replicate.
    • Individual application: between $80,000 and $250,000
    • Collaborative Partnership application: up to $500,000 is available to applicants that partner with one or more Councils and/or Alpine Resort Management Boards to undertake an implementation project.

Applicants who undertake a feasibility study in year one will ideally use this study to inform their application for an implementation project in years 2–4. Otherwise implementation grant applicants will need to provide evidence the project is ready to implement.

Applications for both Stream 1 and Stream 2 grants will be assessed on their merits via a competitive assessment process. Approved Feasibility projects must be completed within 6 months of signing the SV funding agreement. Approved Implementation projects must be completed within 2 years of signing the SV funding agreement.

Applications must be submitted online by 3pm on Friday 19 March 2021. Late applications will not be accepted unless exceptional circumstances apply.

2. Why is the Victorian Government providing this funding?

Victoria, like many other states and nations, exports large amounts of recycled materials. Approximately 1.27 million tonnes of paper, plastic and cardboard each year is sent to overseas markets such as China and Malaysia. This includes 30% of all recycling collected from Victorian households.

In 2018, China placed and enforced strict contamination thresholds on its import of recycled materials. This caused widespread disruptions to global recycling markets – including our own.

Recycling Victoria represents the Victorian Government’s action plan to reform our waste and recycling system over the next decade. Beyond recycling, this shift will ultimately transform Victoria’s economy.

This program sits under Goal 2 of the Recycling Victoria policy – Use products for more value. Under this goal, the Victorian government has committed to reducing total waste generation by 15 percent per capita between 2020 and 2030.

This program also aligns with Sustainability Victoria’s 2020–21 Business Plan:

  • Focus area 1: We influence producers and regulators to retain highest product value
  • Focus area 3: We partner with our community to achieve local solutions

Our vision for Victoria is a Circular Economy where products are made to last and waste is avoided. A circular economy fosters innovation and invigorates existing businesses and creates new ones, delivering more jobs and growth for local, regional, state and global economies.

2.1 Fund objectives

Grants will be targeted towards projects that contribute to the following program objectives:

  • Decrease in volume of council material going to landfill
  • Increase in volume of material reused, repaired, repurposed or recycled
  • Increased circular economy activity, with increased local business employment and economic activity.

2.2 Who can apply?

Eligible applicants are Victorian local governments (Councils) and Alpine Resort Management Boards.

A Council or Alpine Resort Management Board can apply as an Applicant in an individual application or a Lead Applicant in a Collaborative Partnership application. They can also be listed as a Project Partner in a Collaborative Partnership (see section 9: Definitions).

Lead Applicants are encouraged to establish collaborative relationships with other Councils or Alpine Resort Management Boards to support project delivery and maximise the project’s impact. Lead Applicants will need to clarify the nature of their relationships with other organisations and demonstrate their commitments to the project accordingly.

Applicants are encouraged to contact their respective Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Groups (WRRG) to discuss their proposal and ensure it aligns with their regional WRRG plan. WRRGs can support Councils and Alpine Resort Management Boards with their application but cannot recommend projects for funding.

WRRG contact details >

3. Funding

There are two funding streams available:

Stream 1 – Feasibility Grant: Up to $20,000 per Applicant to scope the project viability of a localised circular economy solution and/or establish a business case. Collaborative Partnerships Applicants can apply for up to $80,000.

Stream 1 Feasibility Grant

  • Individual (1 Applicant) – up to $20,000
  • Collaborative Partnerships:
    • 2 (1 Lead Applicant, 1 Project Partner) – up to $40,000
    • 3 (1 Lead Applicant, 2 Project Partners) – up to $60,000
    • 4 or more (1 Lead Applicant, 3 or more Project Partners) – up to $80,000

Stream 2 – Implementation Grant: From $80,000-$250,000 for individual councils with business case ready projects. Collaborative Partnerships of councils can apply for up to $500,000.

Stream 2 Implementation Grant

  • Individual (1 Applicant) – $80,000–$250,000
  • Collaborative Partnerships:
    • 1 Lead Applicant, 1 or more Project Partners – $80,000–$500,000

Councils and Alpine Resort Management Boards are limited to two applications per year as an individual Applicant or Lead Applicant. They can also be a Project Partner on additional applications where they are not the Lead Applicant.

3.1 Co-contribution

Applicants are required to contribute a minimum of $1:$1 for all projects:

  • Stream 1 Feasibility grants allow a co-contribution to be up to 100% in-kind (see Section 9: Definitions)
  • Stream 2 Implementation grants allow a co-contribution to be up to 20% in-kind. Applicants must contribute a minimum 80% financial co-contribution.
    • Financial contributions can include funding from other government sources for up to 50% of the total financial co-contribution. However, contributions cannot include funding from other grants offered under the Recycling Victoria policy.

For example:

Total project cost Funding request (SV contribution)
Your financial (cash) contribution
Your in-kind contribution Other Government funding, excluding Recycling Victoria grants
$125,000 maximum
$50,000 minimum
$25,000 maximum
$50,000 maximum
$25,000 maximum


3.2 What will be funded?

Funding will be provided for:

  • Dedicated staff costs/project management costs for new roles or extension of hours to existing roles, where increased staff time is 100% dedicated to delivery of the project; and
  • Marketing, advertising, promotional costs.

Stream 1: Feasibility

Project costs may include:

  • business case development, feasibility studies, consultancy or contract work required for the project
  • research, development and demonstration
  • project activities focused on scoping a project to obtain robust analysis of the localised solution.

Project examples may include:

  • identify opportunities to increase the collection, separation and processing of recovered material
  • understand the tangible benefits of local circular economy options both on their operations and in their communities
  • understand different constraints, options and opportunities for regional and metropolitan councils
  • identify connections with council procurement and purchasing.

Stream 2: Implementation

Project costs may include:

  • capital purchases (e.g. infrastructure or equipment)
  • pre-construction (site preparation) such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works
  • project permit, licensing, approval costs
  • purchase of vehicles, where equipment is integral for the project to occur and council demonstrates they are unable to proceed with the project without funding for the vehicle
  • leasing of equipment
  • other innovative projects may be considered provided they align with the Fund objectives
  • project activities focused on implementing an evidence based localised solution.

Project examples may include:

  • facilitate local circular economy solutions
  • collaborate with other councils/businesses/NGOs in identifying and implementing circular economy solutions
  • decrease waste materials being sent to landfill, including priority materials such as glass, organics, e-waste, plastics, tyres
  • decrease waste materials being sent to landfill, including non-priority materials such as aggregates, textiles
  • increase the volume of materials reused, repurposed, repaired or recycled with improved value locally
  • promote the circular economy within their communities and increase local employment and economic activity.

Funding will be provided for projects that have received funding or support for the same activities from other sources up to a maximum co-contribution allowed (50% of the financial co-contribution).

3.3 What won’t be funded?

Funding will not be provided for:

  • projects that don’t meet regulatory or planning requirements or that are being undertaken in order to comply with regulation or a regulatory notice or order
  • requests for retrospective funding, where projects are completed or have commenced prior to signing a funding agreement with SV
  • waste to energy proposals
  • development of specifications and standards
  • lease or purchase of land
  • routine or cyclical maintenance works
  • repair of facilities damaged by vandalism, fire or other natural disasters where the damage should be covered by insurance
  • operating costs such as, but not limited to, salaries (for existing staff although these can be in-kind contributions to the project), electricity, water and other utilities
  • travel, conferences and other educational activities
  • projects that have received funding from a Recycling Victoria funding program administered by SV
  • stream 1 Feasibility grants: the purchase of equipment or activities that do not relate to research
  • stream 2 Implementation grants: feasibility studies, research, development and demonstration;

4. Assessment process

4.1 Compliance criteria

Applicants must meet all the following compliance criteria to be considered for progression to eligibility. These will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

Applicants must:

  • lodge their application in the required format by the closing date 3pm Friday 19 March 2021
  • complete a Declaration where indicated by an authorised person with delegated authority to make this application on behalf of the organisation.

4.2 Eligibility criteria

Applicants are not able to be funded if they do not meet the eligibility criteria therefore cannot progress to merit assessment unless all eligibility criteria are met. To be eligible for funding applicants must:

  • agree to comply with SV’s:
    • Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions
    • Terms of Participation in Grant Programs
  • be a local government organisation or an Alpine Resort Management Board
  • have a current Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • meet or exceed the minimum $1:$1 co-contribution requirement for funding
  • have project activities take place in and/or service Victoria
  • complete the project within specified timeframes of signing the funding agreement with SV:
    • Stream 1 Feasibility projects within 6 months or by 31 December 2021
    • Stream 2 Implementation projects within 2 years or by 30 June 2023.

4.3 Assessment criteria

The program involves a competitive, merit-based application process. Eligible applications will be assessed against the following assessment criteria:

Criteria Weighting


Applicants must demonstrate how the project meets SV’s Fund outcomes by demonstrating:

  • what is being delivered
  • which waste materials are being addressed
  • how the project meets ones or more of the outcomes of the Fund.


Applicants (and Project Partners/Project Participants where applicable) must demonstrate the ability deliver of the project by demonstrating their:

  • capability (skills and knowledge)
  • capacity (resources)
  • experience.


Applicants must be able to demonstrate why the project is needed by demonstrating how the project:

  • aligns with and delivers against grant objectives
    • decrease waste materials being sent to landfill
    • increase volume of materials reused, repurposed, repaired or recycled
    • promotes the circular economy to their communities and increases local employment and economic activity
  • demonstrates a need for government support
  • demonstrates value for money
  • aligns to relevant council and WRRG plans.


Applicants must demonstrate the project is commercial, feasible and capable of being delivered by demonstrating:

  • key activities and timeframes
  • risk management plan
  • how the success of the project will be evaluated
  • the project is financially viable.

For Stream 2 Implementation projects relevant site considerations have been identified including:

  • site details
  • infrastructure details (if applicable).

4.4 Diversity considerations

SV may overlay rankings to achieve an overall mix of projects that represent:

  • a geographical spread across Victorian regions
  • a spread across municipality sizes, including a mix between regional and metro applicants and individual and Collaborative Partnerships
  • a mix of project types across the three program outcomes:
    • decrease council managed material to landfill
    • increase material reused, repurposed, recycled, with improved local value
    • increased circular economy activity with increased local businesses and jobs.

4.5 Due diligence

A risk-based approach will be used to assess the applicant’s social, economic and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment may include other Project Partners and Project Participants.

Applicants (and if applicable their Project Partners and Project Participants) should:

  • have had no environmental, safety or workplace breaches in the last five years, or if there was a breach, SV’s can assess a satisfactory level of risk the applicant’s breach poses
  • have not been the subject of an Enforceable Undertaking or successful litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman for a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 or a fair work instrument within the last five years
  • have adequate insurance as outlined in the Funding Agreement and below:
    • Public Liability $10M minimum
    • Professional Indemnity $5M minimum
    • WorkCover
  • have not failed to satisfactorily progress or complete previous projects funded by SV within funding program timelines and without sufficient reason
  • manage any conflicts of interest adequately.

Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to SV’s consideration of:

  • the seriousness of any finding/s
  • whether the finding/s has been resolved to the satisfaction of the relevant enforcement agency, or the applicant can demonstrate it is working effectively to resolve the finding
  • the efforts made by the applicant including implementation of management systems, to ensure no further finding/s occur
  • whether, since the finding, the applicant has had a satisfactory level of compliance with relevant environmental, safety or workplace laws.

SV may conduct due diligence checks on the Project Partners and Project Participants involved in the delivery of the project. The applicant must ensure that any Project Partners and Project Participant(s) agree to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at SV’s request.

SV reserves the right not to award funding to applicants where the due diligence risk (including that of Project Partners and Project Participants) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.

5. Funding conditions

5.1 What is required of successful applicants?

Successful applicants approved for funding must:

  • agree to realistic evidence-based and performance-based milestone payments
  • provide insurance certificates of currency to SV prior to commencement of the project
  • sign the SV funding agreement within 30 days of approval
  • in the case of a Collaborative Partnership, provide formal agreement/s between the Lead Applicant and Project Partner/s
  • provide a project plan and deliver the project as outlined in the application and comply with the funding agreement
  • contribute to regular project progress updates or meetings
  • notify SV immediately of any delays or change to project scope
  • provide update reports to SV at agreed milestones with evidence of expenditure, progress and performance
  • provide adequate monitoring and evaluation of the project in accordance with the funding agreement as required by SV
  • collect and release data to SV including national data and reporting requirements during and post project completion, noting that data may be shared and reported in Victoria and for national purposes
  • contribute to promotional activities such as video or publishable case studies and share learnings that may be published about the project
  • participate in and contribute to activities with SV to distribute the findings to broader stakeholders (e.g. government and industry) during and after the SV funding agreement period
  • acknowledge that SV has contributed funding in all communications related to the sustainable infrastructure project.

5.2 Government signage requirements

Applicants should note that capital works signage is required for projects over $250,000. It is recommended applicants for grants of more than $250,000 consider this in their proposed budget.

6. Key dates

Applications open: 3pm, 8 January 2021

Information Session: 10am, 9 February 2021

Applications close: 3pm, 19 March 2021

Notification of outcome: Applicants will be notified in June 2021.

SV will provide applicants with updates about the progress of their applications as much as possible but cannot provide a definite approval /announcement date.

Funding agreements established: June–July 2021

Projects commenced: within 2 months of signing the funding agreement with SV

Project completed: Feasibility projects must be completed within 6 months of signing the funding agreement with SV.

Implementation projects must be completed within 2 years of signing the funding agreement with SV.

* Please note: these timelines are indicative only and may change.

7. How to apply

Applicants should review and follow these steps:

  1. Ensure your organisation is eligible to apply (see Section 4.2: Eligibility Criteria)
  2. Ensure your project meets the assessment criteria (see Section 4.3 Assessment Criteria)
  3. Read the terms and conditions of SV’s funding agreement and ensure you can meet them. Acceptance of these terms is required for grant funding to be provided. View terms and conditions.
  4. Read and understand the Terms of Participation in Grant Programs
  5. Complete an online application on the SmartyGrants webpage.
    1. Login or Register an account. Please note, you must have an account before you can start and submit an online application.
    2. Click on Recycling Victoria Councils Fund to take you to the application form. To start your application, click on the Fill Out Now button.

Submitting your application:

  • Applications can only be submitted online (unless otherwise agreed or at SV’s discretion).
  • Applications must be submitted by 3pm on the closing date 19 March 2021. SV’s online grant portal will not accept late applications, except under exceptional circumstances, refer to Terms of Participation in Grant Programs.
  • It is highly recommended that you click Save Progress every 10–15 minutes when filling out the online application form. Note: you will be logged out of your application if 60 minutes has elapsed and you have not saved your progress or navigated between pages. If logged out, you will lose any changes made that have not been saved.
  • If you are attaching files, allow sufficient time for the file to be uploaded to the page. You should not navigate to another page until the document has been successfully attached, otherwise the file upload will be cancelled. The maximum file limit is 25MB.
  • You cannot make any changes to your application after it has been submitted.
  • You will receive a confirmation message and email when the application is submitted.
  • If you experience difficulties submitting your online application, contact SV on 1300 363 744 and ask to speak to a grant support representative or email
  • SV will update applicants on the progress of their applications as much as possible but cannot give a definite approval/announcement date.
  • We will endeavour to advise you if we experience any unforeseen delays.

8. Further information

8.1 Information session

An information session will be held for applicants.

Date: 9 February 2021

Time: 10am

Location: Online

Register to attend via Eventbrite.

If you are unable to attend, a recording will be available after the session.

8.2 Questions?

Email with ‘RV Councils Fund’ in the subject line.

Alternatively, read our Information bulletin.

9. Fund definitions


The listed applicant for the purposes of an individual application responsible for all details in the submission of an application. The Applicant will be responsible for the contractual obligations of the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding

Circular economy

A circular economy is where waste is minimised and products and materials are kept circulating at their greatest value for as long as possible. Four outcomes of a circular economy are:

  • reducing the use of virgin or non-renewable resources
  • maintaining the highest value of materials and products
  • transforming waste into reusable materials
  • reducing the environmental impact of production and consumption.


The applicant’s required financial or in-kind contribution to the total project income. Stream 1 Feasibility and Stream 2 Implementation projects require a 1:1 matched co-contribution from applicant(s):

  • Stream 1 Feasibility in-kind allowance is 100%.
  • Stream 2 Implementation in-kind allowance is 20% and up to 50% of the financial co-contribution can include funding from other government sources (excluding grants under the Recycling Victoria program).

Collaborative partnership

A relationship established between a Lead Applicant and Project Partner for the purposes of meeting common project objectives and outcomes.

Collaborative Partnerships will need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between the partners that outlines the governance, financial and intellectual property arrangements and roles and responsibilities of each party. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

Direct jobs

Actual new full-time positions created by your business. This can include training or upskilling of employees who would otherwise be made redundant through the implementation of your project.

Diverse employees

The Recycling Victoria Councils Fund seeks to improve job opportunities for marginal groups, including jobseeker roles, indigenous, CALD and other diverse roles.

Environmental, safety or workplace breach

An environmental or safety breach is any past or current prosecution, reportable incident, investigation, notice, penalty, warning, regulatory intervention or enforcement action from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe) or Fair Work or failure to comply with any environmental, safety and workplace laws.

Environmental and safety laws

Environmental and safety laws are the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, Environment Protection Act 1970 or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the protection and safety of persons or property or which regulate the environment including laws relating to land use planning, pollution of air or water, soil or groundwater contamination, chemicals, waste, the use, handling, storage or transport of dangerous goods or substances, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon trading, or any other aspect of protection of the environment.

Financial contribution

Financial co-contributions may include:

  • any costs associated with the construction/installation of a new asset or a renewal, expansion or upgrade of existing assets
  • procurement of materials and/or products
  • funding from other federal and state government sources, excluding grants offered under the Recycling Victoria policy.

Stream 1 Feasibility grants have no minimum financial contribution from applicants. Stream 2 Implementation grants require up to 80% of the co-contribution to be financial. Up to 50% of the financial contribution can be funding from other government sources, excluding grants offered under the Recycling Victoria policy.

Full-time equivalent employees (FTE)

The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.

Calculating FTE

The calculation is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. For example, you have three employees working the following – 40, 40 and 20 hours per week, giving you 100 hours per week in total.

Assuming full-time hours are 40 hours per week, your full-time equivalent calculation is 100 hours divided by 40 hours which equals 2.5 FTE.

Indirect jobs

Jobs created by other businesses that come into existence due to the economic growth of your business.

In-kind contribution

An in-kind contribution is a contribution of a good or a service other than money.

In-kind contributions may include, but is not limited to:

  • staff time to manage project implementation (project management and installation costs that utilise existing internal resources)
  • time spent on project activities by volunteers (not paid employees of the organisation seeking funding)
  • donated goods or services related to the project.

The following activities cannot be considered in-kind contributions:

  • operating expenses that are not directly associated with delivering the project
  • opportunity costs such as staff ‘downtime’ during the installation of equipment or implementation of activities.

Stream 1 Feasibility Grants allow up to 100% of the applicant’s co-contribution to be in-kind. Stream 2 Implementation Grants has a 20% in-kind allowance.

Lead applicant

The listed applicant for the purposes of a Collaborative Partnership. The Lead Applicant will be responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations of the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding.

The Lead Applicant is also responsible for managing the project outcomes and deliverables of the Collaborative Partnership.

Project participants

Organisation/s engaged by an Applicant/Lead Applicant to assist in the delivery of the project; including but not limited to product or equipment suppliers, consultants and contractors.

Project partner

Organisation/s in a Collaborative Partnership with a Lead Applicant that have a critical role in the project and a formal commitment to delivering the support required to ensure the project’s success.

This role might include the provision of venues, equipment, access to land, access to community networks or digital platforms, specialist expertise, strategic partnerships, dissemination of information or promotion of events or services

The role of Project Partners will need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between relevant parties and will outline the roles and responsibilities of each party, such as governance, financial or intellectual property arrangements. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

Want to know more? Get in touch with:

Grants Support Representative

Sustainability Victoria

1300 363 744