The Circular Economy Councils Fund supports local government and Alpine Resort Management Boards to reduce waste to landfill and transition towards a circular economy.
On this page
This grant closed on 19 March 2021. View the fund recipients.
Applicants should review and follow these steps:
Applications must be submitted online by 3:00 pm on Friday 19 March 2021. Late applications will not be accepted unless exceptional circumstances apply.
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:
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.
Grants will be targeted towards projects that contribute to the following program objectives:
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.
See WRRG contact details.
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
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
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.
Applicants are required to contribute a minimum of $1:$1 for all projects:
Funding will be provided for:
Stream 1: Feasibility
Project costs may include:
Project examples may include:
Stream 2: Implementation
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).
Funding will not be provided for:
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 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:
The program involves a competitive, merit-based application process. Eligible applications will be assessed against the following assessment criteria.
Applicants must demonstrate how the project meets SV’s Fund outcomes by demonstrating:
Applicants (and Project Partners/Project Participants where applicable) must demonstrate the ability deliver of the project by demonstrating their:
Applicants must be able to demonstrate why the project is needed by demonstrating how the project:
Applicants must demonstrate the project is commercial, feasible and capable of being delivered by demonstrating:
For Stream 2 Implementation projects relevant site considerations have been identified including:
SV may overlay rankings to achieve an overall mix of projects that represent:
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:
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:
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.
Applications open: 3:00 pm, 8 January 2021
Information Session: 10:00 am, 9 February 2021
Applications close: 3:00 pm, 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.
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:
4. Read and understand the Terms of Participation in Grant Programs
5. Complete an online application on the SmartyGrants webpage.
Submitting your application:
At our information sessions, we go through the fund and answer participants’ questions about it.
Past sessionsGo to the Information bulletin for:
Email email@example.com with ‘RV Councils Fund’ in the subject line.
Alternatively, read our Information bulletin.
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
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:
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):
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.
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.
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 co-contributions may include:
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.
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.
Jobs created by other businesses that come into existence due to the economic growth of your business.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.