Recycling Victoria Communities Fund: Guidelines

Last updated: 2 March 2021

1. Funding overview

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:

  • Stream 1 grants will support the creation of one or more circular economy projects within a municipality. Stream 1 will provide grants between $25,000 and $59,000. Stream 1 projects must be delivered within 12 months of signing the funding agreement
  • Stream 2 grants will support circular economy projects that are delivered to communities over a wide geographic area (such as multiple local government areas, regions or across Victoria). Stream 2 will provide grants between $60,000 and $250,000 and will support projects that can be successfully delivered within 18 months of signing the funding agreement.

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.

2. Why is the Victorian Government providing this funding?

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:

  • reducing cost of living pressures
  • building local skills
  • encouraging social connections
  • creating new business opportunities
  • helping to reduce our impact on our environment.

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:

  • reduce waste generation by 15% per capita
  • reduce organic waste to landfill by 50%

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.

2.1 Fund objectives

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:

  • 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 up new jobs.

3. About the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund

3.1 Who can apply?

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.

3.2 Partnerships and collaborations

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.

3.3 Co-contributions

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:

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

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.

3.4 What will be funded?

The Fund will support community-based projects that deliver at least one 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 up new jobs.

The following project expenses are eligible for funding:

  • dedicated project management costs
  • marketing, advertising, promotional costs
  • consultancy or contract work required for the project
  • demonstration projects (demonstration sites, or educational expenses)
  • leasing of equipment
  • community education activities
  • project-related travel expenses
  • capital purchases (e.g. infrastructure or equipment)
  • Insurance costs related to the project
  • project site leasing costs
  • permit, licensing, approval costs associated with the project.

3.5 What will not be funded?

  • wages or salaries for existing staff (although these can be in-kind contributions to the project)
  • operating costs (electricity, water and other utilities)
  • research or development projects
  • project outcomes that are not directly attributable to the SV grant funding
  • requests for retrospective funding, where projects are completed or have commenced prior to signing a funding agreement with SV
  • purchase of vehicles (e.g. front-end loaders, fork lifts)
  • pre-construction (site preparation) such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works
  • 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
  • projects that have been awarded funding through other Recycling Victoria programs administered by SV
  • infrastructure or assets owned and serviced by any entity that manages public land (e.g. local government, government organisation or business)
  • projects that are being undertaken in order to comply with regulation or a regulatory notice or order
  • projects that don’t meet regulatory or planning requirements
  • projects that do not clearly demonstrate a need for government support
  • projects that do not demonstrate good value for money
  • 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
  • business case development or feasibility studies
  • conference expenses.

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. These criteria are mandatory.

Applicants must:

  • lodge their application in the required format by the closing date – 3:00 pm, 19 March 2021
  • ensure that their application is validly signed where indicated, including agreeing to the Terms of Participation, Funding Agreement terms and conditions, due diligence checks (EPA, WorkSafe, financial viability) and any other terms of the application.

4.2 Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for funding, Lead Applicants must:

  • agree to comply with SV’s Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions
  • agree to comply with SV’s Terms of Participation in a Grant Program
  • have a current Australian Business Number (ABN) and appropriate business structure (such as company, incorporated association or registered cooperative)
  • be one of the following organisation types:
    • community group
    • social enterprise
    • charity registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
    • other not-for-profit organisation, ideally registered on the ACNC charity register
  • provide evidence to demonstrate that the Lead Applicant is either a social enterprise, a not-for- profit organisation or a community group
  • implement and service the project in Victoria
  • meet the minimum co-contribution requirement for funding ($5:$1)
  • have been operating for a minimum of two years if the funding requested is greater than $59,000
  • complete the project within this required timeframe:
    • Stream 1 projects will need to be completed within 12 months of signing the SV funding agreement
    • Stream 2 projects will need to be completed within 18 months of signing the SV funding agreement
  • not commence the project before signing the funding agreement with SV
  • ensure that the project delivers at least one of the following outcomes in the community:
    • 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 up new jobs.

4.3 Assessment criteria

Criteria: What

Weighting: 30%

Description:

Describe what you are going to do, and how the project aligns with the objectives of the fund:

  • 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
  • boosting Victoria’s economy through local circular economy initiatives, helping businesses to grow in new ways, and creating up new jobs.

Criteria: Who

Weighting: 30%

Description:

The Lead Applicant and its Project Partner(s) and other Project Participants can deliver the project including capability (skills and experience) and capacity (resources).

Criteria: Why

Weighting: 10%

Description:

Describe why the project is needed, including how it will provide value for money for Victoria.

Criteria: How

Weighting: 30%

Description:

Demonstrate how the project is commercial, feasible and capable of being delivered.

4.4 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 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:

  • 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
  • demonstrate financial capability to undertake the project
  • have or purchase 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
  • provide a project plan and deliver the project as outlined in the application and comply with the funding agreement
  • 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 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.

6. Key dates

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

Project completed:

  • Stream 1 grants: Within 12 months of signing the funding agreement with SV
  • Stream 2 grants: Within 18 months of signing the funding agreement with SV.

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.
  4. Read and understand the Terms of Participation in Grant Programs.
  5. Register or login to start your Recycling Victoria Communities Fund application.
    Please note: you must create an account before you can start and submit an online application.

Submitting your application:

  • Applications can only be submitted online (unless otherwise agreed or at SV’s discretion).
  • Applications must be submitted by 3:00 pm 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 grants.enquiries@sustainability.vic.gov.au.
  • 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 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.

8.2 Questions?

Email grants.enquiries@sustainability.vic.gov.au 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.

9. Definitions

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:

  • not be an individual, political party or government entity
  • be registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register (ACNC).

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:

  • are engaged in charitable or other community-based activity
  • are not established for the purposes of making a profit.

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:

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

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.

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:

  • 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.

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.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with us.

Contact:

Grants Support Representative grants.enquiries@sustainability.vic.gov.au