The Circular Economy Communities Fund supports community-based projects that empower the community to reduce waste.
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This grant closed on 19 March 2021. View the fund recipients.
The Recycling Victoria Communities Fund (the Fund) provides grants to local community groups, social enterprises, charities and not-for-profit organisations to deliver community- based circular economy projects.
Two types of grants are available:
Applications must be submitted in the required format by 3:00 pm on 19 March 2021. Late applications will not be accepted unless extenuating circumstances apply.
Applications for both Stream 1 and Stream 2 grants will be assessed on their merits via a competitive assessment process.
Australia has one of the largest material footprints in the world at 35 tonnes per person. That’s 10 tonnes (or 40%) higher than the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Chile. While Victorians are committed recyclers, we need to think beyond what we put in our bins and start to focus on how we can make a difference in our communities by focusing on what we buy, reuse or repair.
Every purchase we make affects our environment, and so every Victorian can help to make the shift to a circular economy. A circular economy continually seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption, while enabling economic growth through more productive use of natural resources. It allows us to avoid waste with good design and effective recovery of materials that can be reused.
It promotes more efficient business models that encourage intense and efficient product use, such as sharing products between multiple users, or supplying a product as a service that includes maintenance, repair and disposal. It transforms out linear economy mindset – take, use and throw away – and enables more value to be obtained from the resources used to create goods and services. It fosters innovation and productivity that invigorates existing businesses and creates new ones, delivering more jobs and more growth for local, regional, state and global economies.
Community-based organisations will play an important role in leading this change. They are well placed to identify and develop local circular economy projects that enable communities to share, repair, loan and buy second-hand goods. They can help communities to choose waste-free products, reuse materials, and maintain and repair the goods that we have. They can support people to buy products that are durable, repairable, recyclable or made from recycled materials. All of these practices will help Victorians to save money and unlock value for our broader economy, including:
Circular economy practices are increasing, but it is often difficult to understand the environmental impacts of our purchases. We need greater awareness, information and access to alternative purchasing options to help Victorians to make this change.
To support this transition to a circular economy, the Victorian Government released the Recycling Victoria Policy in February 2020. The Policy aims to achieve the following targets by 2030:
The Policy allocated funding to support Victorian communities to transition to circular economy practices. Through the Fund, grants will be provided to support local community groups, social enterprises, charities and not-for-profit organisations working to reduce waste and improve recycling, including through repair cafes and product-sharing schemes. Initiatives to prevent litter and illegal dumping will also be supported.
The Fund will support local community initiatives that engage the community in local solutions for low- waste living. The initiatives need to deliver one or more of the following objectives:
A Lead Applicant is the organisation that applies for funding and, if successful, enters into a funding agreement with SV to deliver the funded project. To be eligible to apply for funding, Lead Applicants need to be either a charity, not for profit organisation, community group or social enterprise. Lead Applicants must have an ABN and have an appropriate business structure such as a company, incorporated association or a registered cooperative. Lead Applicants cannot be a council, a for-profit company, an individual or unincorporated association.
Lead Applicants are encouraged to establish collaborative relationships with other organisations as required to support project delivery and maximise the project’s impact. This might include relationships with authorities or land managers (for example, relevant local governments, catchment management authorities, coastal committees etc.), research institutes, commercial businesses, Aboriginal corporations or other charities, community groups or social enterprises. Lead Applicants will need to clarify the nature of its relationships with other organisations and demonstrate their commitments to the project. If you are collaborating with another organisation in a partnership or formal collaboration, this Guideline and Application Form refers to such project participants as Project Partners. Any other major project participant, such as a supplier or subcontractor or any other contributor to your project, is referred to as a Project Participant (see Definitions in section 8).
Applicants are encouraged to contact their respective Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Group (WRRG) to discuss their proposal. WRRGs can support organisations with their application but cannot recommend projects for funding.
See WRRG contact details.
Co-contributions are required in addition to SV funds at a ratio of SV$5:$1. Therefore, for every $5 SV contributes to the project, $1 must be contributed by the Lead Applicant or other parties (Project Partners or other Project Participants).
Lead Applicants will need to specify the nature and value of any financial or in-kind contributions it or its partners or other participants will be making to the project. In-kind support can comprise up to 100% of the co-contribution to the project, and can include:
In-kind contributions cannot include operating expenses that are not directly associated with delivering/implementing the project, or opportunity costs such as staff ‘downtime’ during the installation of equipment or implementation of activities.
While financial co-contributions are not mandatory, Lead Applicants are encouraged to seek additional sources of funding to strengthen and extend their projects. Lead Applicants are also encouraged to find ways to fund the ongoing operation of the project so that it can continue to operate and deliver outcomes beyond the term of the funding agreement. This might include leveraging contributions from Project Partners or other sponsoring organisations or generating income from project activities.
Funding from other Recycling Victoria programs administered by Sustainability Victoria will not be permitted.
The Fund will support community-based projects that deliver at least one of the following objectives:
The following project expenses are eligible for funding:
Applicants must meet all the following compliance criteria to be considered for progression to eligibility. These will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. These criteria are mandatory.
To be eligible for funding, Lead Applicants must:
Describe what you are going to do, and how the project aligns with the objectives of the fund:
The Lead Applicant and its Project Partner(s) and other Project Participants can deliver the project including capability (skills and experience) and capacity (resources).
Describe why the project is needed, including how it will provide value for money for Victoria.
Demonstrate how the project is commercial, feasible and capable of being delivered.
A risk-based approach will be used to assess the applicant’s social, economic and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment will include the applicant’s Related Entities and may include the Project Partners other Project Participants. (See section 9 for definition of Related Entities.)
Applicants (and their Related Entities and, if applicable, their Project Partners and Project Participants) should:
Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to SV’s consideration of:
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.
Successful applicants approved for funding must:
Please note: these timelines are indicative only and may change.
Applications open: 3:00 pm, 8 January 2021
Applications close: 3:00 pm, 19 March 2021
Notification of outcome: 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 weeks of signing the funding agreement with SV
Applicants should review and follow these steps:
Submitting your application:
An online information session is available for interested parties.
The link to register for this session will available on the SV website.
Date: 9 February 2021
Time: 2:00 pm
Register to attend via Eventbrite.
If you are unable to attend, a recording will be available after the session.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with Recycling Victoria Communities Fund in the subject line.
Alternatively, read our Information bulletin for updates and answers to questions not covered in these guidelines.
Charities and not-for-profits: A charity is an organisation that is not-for-profit and has only charitable purposes that are for the public benefit. Charities must:
A not-for-profit organisation is an organisation that is not an individual, political party or government entity, not operated for profit and, ideally, is registered on the ACNC Charity Register, but might not be.
Co-contribution: The applicant’s required cash or in-kind contribution to the total project income.
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.
Community groups: Community groups are organisations that:
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.
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.
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:
The following activities cannot be considered in-kind contributions:
Project participants: Project Participant” means any organisation engaged or used by the applicant to assist in the delivery of the project. This might include product or equipment suppliers, service providers or other community- based organisations or networks you will be using to promote your project.
Project partner: Project Partners are organisations in a Collaborative Partnership with the Lead Applicant and 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.
Related entities: Entities which are related to the applicant and includes:
Related persons: Related Person means a director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the applicant or a Related Entity.
Social enterprises: A social enterprise is an organisation that is driven by a public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic. A social enterprise derives most of their income from trade, not donations or grants, and uses the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission.
Workplace laws: Workplace laws are the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by- law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the provision of fair, relevant and enforceable minimum terms and conditions for all persons and to prevent discrimination against employees.
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