Circular Economy Communities Fund Round 2 – Stream 1: Local Community projects

Last updated: 15 September 2022
Status: Applications closed
Closing date: Monday 4 April 2022, 11:59 pm
Total funding available: Between $25,000 and $59,000

Applicants must contribute at least $1 for every $5 requested.

Available to: Charities, Social enterprises, Not-for-profit organisations
Prior to 1 July 2022, this fund was named the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund.

The Circular Economy Communities Fund supports local community groups, social enterprises and other not-for-profit businesses working to reduce waste and improve recycling.

The fund is distributed through 2 funding streams:

  • Stream 1 grants are targeted at circular economy projects delivered within a local community or municipality. This page is about Stream 1.
  • Stream 2 grants are targeted at circular economy projects delivered to communities over a wide geographic area such as multiple local government areas or regions across Victoria. Read more about Stream 2.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59pm, 31 March 2022. Late applications will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances.

This grant is funded through the government’s circular economy plan, Recycling Victoria: a new economy.

The following are the guidelines for applying for this fund.

Fund recipients

Round 2 of this grant closed on 4 April 2022. View the fund recipients.

Information bulletin

Find out more in the Information bulletin.

1. Fund overview

1.1 Fund objectives

The Fund objective is to assist Victorian Communities to transition to a circular economy by providing funds to solicit creative solutions for issues and gaps in the current waste management system.

The project needs to deliver one or more of the following objectives:

  • reduce waste generation
  • reduce non-organic material going to landfill by re-purposing through local community initiatives
  • reduce organic material going to landfill by re-purposing through local community initiatives
  • reduce the sources of plastic pollution, litter and illegal dumping
  • boost Victoria’s economy through local circular economy initiatives, helping businesses to grow in new ways, and creating new jobs.

1.2 Funding available

For Stream 1, each project can receive a grant of between $25,000 and $59,000.

For Stream 2, each project can receive a grant of between $60,000 and $250,000. Read more about Stream 2.

1.3 Co-contribution

Applicants must contribute at least $1 for every $5 requested. This contribution can be either financial (cash) or in-kind.

In-kind contributions can comprise up to 100% of the contribution.

For example, if your grant request is $50,000, you must co-contribute at least $10,000.

1.4 Project Partners

Applicants are encouraged to establish collaborative partnerships with other organisations 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), research institutes, commercial businesses, Aboriginal corporations or other charities, community groups or social enterprises.

In the application form, Applicants will need to clarify the nature of these relationships and the partner’s commitment to the project. Letters of support are encouraged.

This Guidelines and Application Form refer to these relationships as Project Partners.

1.5 Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Group

Applicants are encouraged to contact their respective Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Group (WRRG) to discuss their intended application to the RV Communities Fund. WRRGs can support organisations with their application but cannot recommend projects for funding or provide financial or in-kind contribution towards a project.

The WRRG contact details are available on the Our partners page.

2. Eligibility

2.1 Who can apply

Eligible organisations must be one of the following organisation types:

  • a registered charity on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) charity register
  • a community group engaged in charitable or other community-based activity
  • a social enterprise (must be currently registered with Social Traders or prove accreditation before entering into a funding agreement
  • other not-for-profit organisation, ideally registered on the ACNC charity register.

Applicants must:

  • have a current Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have been operating for at least 12 months by the application closing date (to be validated by the date that the organisation’s ABN is active from)
  • be able to demonstrate financial viability to undertake the project (will meet or exceed the minimum co-contribution requirement)

Applicants who do not agree with the Grant Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions will be asked to provide full details of proposed amendments that would render the contractual provision acceptable to the Applicant in the SmartyGrants application form. Applicants should note that significant or substantive variations will not be viewed favourably unless the Applicant is able to demonstrate the necessity for such variations. Should applicants be successful, no further amendments to SV’s standard terms and conditions will be considered beyond the variations included in the application form.

Sustainability Victoria encourages applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and groups from diverse communities

Sustainability Victoria manages several grants. Although you can apply for more than one grant for a project, you can only receive one grant. If you’ve already applied for a Sustainability Victoria grant and now find this grant is more relevant or suitable, you can withdraw your application by emailing us.

2.2 Who cannot apply

Applicants cannot be local government, a for-profit company, educational institutions, an individual or unincorporated association.

2.3 What will be funded

Projects must:

  • align with the objectives of the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund
  • be implemented in and service Victoria
  • be completed within 12 months of signing the Sustainability Victoria funding agreement.

Costs directly related to the implementation of the project include:

  • project management costs
  • marketing, advertising or promotional costs
  • consultancy or contract work required for the project
  • community education activities
  • travel expenses
  • capital purchases (for example, infrastructure or equipment)
  • leasing of equipment
  • insurance fees related to the project
  • leasing of premises
  • permit, licensing, approval costs.

You can submit multiple applications. Each application must be for a different project. An application must not be for multiple projects.

2.4 What will not be funded

Projects will not be funded if they:

  • do not align with at least one of the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund objectives
  • are completed or have commenced prior to signing a funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria
  • operate outside of Victoria
  • have been awarded funding through other Recycling Victoria programs administered by Sustainability Victoria
  • are being undertaken in order to comply with regulation or a regulatory notice or order
  • do not meet regulatory or planning requirements
  • are litter or illegal dumping projects that solely focus on clean up and/or enforcement activities. It is expected that the focus of litter/illegal dumping projects is on litter prevention
  • for infrastructure or assets that are not owned by the applicant and are serviced by any entity that manages public land (for example, local government, government organisation or business)
  • relate to the repair of a facility damaged by vandalism, fire or other natural disasters where the damage should be covered by insurance.

The following costs are ineligible for funding:

  • research, development and demonstration (RD&D)
  • wages or salaries for existing staff not directly related to the project
  • operating costs (electricity, water and other utilities)
  • purchase of vehicles (for example, front-end loaders, fork lifts)
  • pre-construction (site preparation) such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works
  • purchase or lease of land
  • routine or cyclical maintenance works
  • business case development or feasibility studies
  • conference expenses
  • contingency costs.

3. Assessment process

3.1 Assessment criteria

The assessment panel will assess the application based on merit according to the criteria below.


Weighting: 30%

  • A description of the project, what activities and services will be carried out and how the project aligns with the objectives of the fund to:
    • reduce waste generation
    • reduce organic and/or non-organic material going to landfill, by re-purposing through local community initiatives
    • reduce the sources of plastic pollution, litter and illegal dumping
    • boost Victoria’s economy through local circular economy initiatives, helping businesses to grow in new ways, and creating new jobs.
  • The changes the project is attempting to drive and the extent of this change.
  • The number of people expected to directly participate in the project.
  • The quantity of material the project will reduce or repurpose and the material type.


Weighting: 30%

Applicants and Project Partners must demonstrate their ability to deliver the project by showing they have:

  • relevant skills, knowledge and experience
  • appropriate levels of time or staff resourcing available.


Weighting: 10%

Describe and demonstrate why the project is needed, or the problem the project is intending to address.

Is the project new or expanding an existing project?.

Anticipated project outcomes or benefits.

The number of FTE equivalents created by the project or volunteer hours that will be contributed.

If relevant, social or sustainable procurement benefits delivered because of the project.


Weighting: 30%

Demonstrate how the project will be delivered, including identifying:

  • key project stages, activities and dates
  • key risks
  • the financial viability of the project
  • community involvement and/or participation in the project
  • how the project will be monitored and evaluated.

3.2 Diversity consideration

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

  • a geographical spread across Victorian regions
  • a spread across industries and/or types of applicants
  • a mix of project types (for example, projects targeting different material types).

3.3 Due diligence checks

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 Project Partners (see Section 9: Program definitions).

Applicants (and their Related Entities and, if applicable, their Project Partners) must:

  • have had no Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breaches in the last five years or, if there was a breach, Sustainability Victoria may assess that the Applicant’s breach poses a satisfactory level of risk;
  • 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;
  • demonstrate financial capability to undertake the project;
  • Public liability $10M minimum
  • Professional indemnity $5M minimum (if required)
  • WorkCover
  • manage any conflicts of interest adequately.

Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to Sustainability Victoria’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; and whether, since the finding, the Applicant has had a satisfactory level of compliance with relevant Environmental and Safety Laws and Workplace Laws.

Sustainability Victoria may conduct due diligence checks on the Project Partners involved in the delivery of the project. The Applicant must ensure that any Project Partner agrees to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at Sustainability Victoria’s request.

Sustainability Victoria reserves the right not to award funding to Applicants where the due diligence risk (including Project Partners) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.

4. Funding conditions

Successful applicants approved for funding must do the following:

4.1 Before starting the project

  • Participate in an inception meeting to discuss the project and funding agreement.
  • Agree to realistic evidence-based and performance-based milestone payments.
  • Provide a finalised Project Plan.
  • Provide Sustainability Victoria with insurance certificates of currency.
  • Sign Sustainability Victoria’s funding agreement within 30 days of approval.

4.2 During and after the project

  • Deliver the project as outlined in the application and comply with the funding agreement.
  • Notify Sustainability Victoria immediately about any delay or change to the project.
  • Contribute to regular project update meetings.
  • Provide update reports to Sustainability Victoria at agreed milestones with evidence of progress and performance
  • Provide adequate monitoring and evaluation of the project according to the funding agreement.
  • Collect and release data to Sustainability Victoria. Sustainability Victoria may share or report on the data.
  • Contribute to the project’s promotional activities (for example, provide Sustainability Victoria with support by reviewing and approving written stories or videos).
  • Participate in and contribute to Sustainability Victoria activities to distribute the findings to broader stakeholders (for example, government and industry).
  • Acknowledge that Sustainability Victoria has contributed funding in all communications related to the project.

5. Timeline

Dates may change. We will provide applicants with updates as much as possible and when necessary.

Applications open: 17 February 2022

Information session: 24 February 2022

Applications close: 31 March 2022

Announcement of outcomes: July 2022

Funding agreements established: August 2022 or in mutual agreement with the successful applicant

Projects commenced by: September 2022, or in mutual agreement with the successful applicant

Project completed by: 12 months from contract signing, or in mutual agreement with successful applicant

6. How to apply

Before applying, we recommend you attend an information session.

The grant program involves a competitive, merit-based application process.

  1. Ensure that your organisation can apply.
  2. Ensure that your project meets the criteria for funding.
  3. Read Sustainability Victoria’s Short-form grant funding agreement. You must meet the terms and conditions to ensure funding.
  4. Read Sustainability Victoria’s Terms of participation in grant programs.
  5. Create an account on the SmartyGrants website.
  6. Start filling out your application from 17 February 2022.
  7. Submit your application by 11:59 pm, 31 March 2022. Late applications will not be accepted except under exceptional circumstances.

Your application

  • Allow adequate time to plan, research, gather supporting documentation and draft your application.
  • As this is a competitive grant, we cannot review drafts or provide feedback.
  • You must use SmartyGrants, unless you have written permission from Sustainability Victoria.

Tips for using SmartyGrants

  • Click ‘Save progress’ every 10 to 15 minutes. This prevents your data from being lost if something happens when you’re filling in the form. You will be automatically logged out of the system after 60 minutes of inactivity (where you did not click ‘Save progress’ or navigate between pages). Once logged out, you will close any changes that were not saved.
  • Wait for your file to be uploaded. Wait for your document to be successfully attached before going to another page. If not, the file upload will be cancelled. The maximum size per file is 25MB.
  • Once you’ve submitted your application, you cannot make any changes. Check your application carefully.
  • You will receive a confirmation email. When your application has been submitted successfully, you will get an automatic receipt from SmartyGrants.
  • For any technical issues, please contact SmartyGrants on (03) 9320 6888 during business hours

7. Assistance available

7.1 Information sessions

Sessions are online. A recording will be available after the session.

Date: Thursday 24 February 2022

Time: 3:00 pm

7.2 Tips on preparing and writing a grant application

7.3 Contact us

We cannot review drafts or provide feedback.

Phone: +61 3 8656 6757 Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.


In the subject line, use the fund name [Recycling Victoria Communities Fund Round 2 – Stream 1]

8. Why the Victorian Government is providing this funding

This fund is released as part of the Victorian Government’s circular economy plan, Recycling Victoria: a new economy, and represents the Government’s action plan to reform our waste and recycling system over the next decade.

Key Commitment 2 of the Recycling Victoria plan is to use products to create more value and the target is a 15% reduction in total waste generation per capita between 2020 and 2030.

The Recycling Victoria Communities Fund is a key deliverable in support of this goal and will support local community groups, social enterprises and other not-for-profit businesses working to reduce waste and improve recycling.

To transition to a circular economy, Victorians must become world-class recyclers, repairers, resellers and re-users. In a circular economy, businesses offer products in different ways. Renting and sharing become more common choices and products are used for longer or by more people—saving consumers money and reducing waste.

Communities are well placed to support this transition at a local level, and the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund supports projects that are soliciting creative solutions for issues and gaps in the current waste management system and are delivering activities which enable a reduction in costs of living pressures and waste, build local skills, encourage social connections and create new business opportunities.

9. Definitions


The applicant who applies for the funding and is responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding.


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/s for the purposes of meeting common project objectives and outcomes. Collaborative Partnerships 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.

Educational institution

Early learning centres, kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and universities.

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 2017 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.

In-kind Contribution

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

In-kind contributions should include the cost for activities that are directly related to delivering your project. Examples include:

  • staff time to manage project implementation (project management and installation costs that utilise existing internal resources);
  • time spent on project activities by volunteers; and
  • donated goods or services related to the project.

The following activities cannot be considered as in-kind contributions:

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

Applicants must fairly justify how they determined the dollar value for in-kind contributions.

Not-for-Profit (NFP)

An organisation that provides services to the community and does not operate to make a profit for its members (or shareholders, if applicable).

Project Partner/s

An 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.

Related Entities

Entities which are related to the Applicant, including:

  • Holding companies of the Applicant
  • Subsidiaries of the Applicant
  • Subsidiaries of holding companies of the Applicant
  • Companies with common directors or shareholders as the Applicant
  • Companies that are a beneficiary under a trust of which the Applicant is a trustee
  • Trustees of a trust under which the Applicant is a beneficiary
  • Companies that conduct business at the same address as the Applicant, or the same address as the location of the activity for which the funding is sought

Social Enterprise

A social enterprise is a business that trades to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.

Social enterprises:

  • are driven by a public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic
  • derive most of their income from trade, not donations or grants
  • use the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission.

Related Person/s

Related Person means a director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the Applicant or a Related Entity.

Workplace Laws

Workplace laws are the Fair Work Act 2009, 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.

Contact us

We cannot review drafts or provide feedback.

When emailing

In the subject line, use the grant name [Recycling Victoria Communities Fund Round 2 – Stream 1: Local Community projects].