Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund – Round 2, Stream 2: Collaborative Innovation – Information bulletin

Last updated: 8 November 2021
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This information bulletin provides information not covered in the Guidelines.

We will update this page as we receive new questions.

Information session

We held an information session to present an overview of the fund and application criteria.

Eligible applicants

Can a new technology-based start-up be considered as an individual business?

Yes, if they have an Australian Business Number (ABN), they are considered a business. A Lead Applicant must have been operating with a current ABN for at least 2 years by the fund’s closing date, 15 November 2021.

If they have a current ABN and has not been operating for 2 years yet, they can be a Collaborative Partner.

As a start-up, can you be a Collaborative Partner?

Yes, if you are a business with an ABN and meet the other requirements.

Can sole traders be Collaborative Partners?

Yes, if you are a business with an ABN and meet the other requirements.

The Lead Applicant for my project is currently the beneficiary of a Sustainability Victoria grant. Does this make them ineligible?

If the other grant was for a project and activities that are different, the Lead Applicant is eligible for this grant.
When applying for this fund, you will need to disclose this information.

Is a greater weight given when the collaboration is with a university or a business?

There is no preference or weighting for organisation types.

Is it okay to have only one industry partner with the waste problem or opportunity? The other partners do not have the waste but support the innovative solution. This makes it not quite a collaboration between different waste generators.

For Stream 2: Collaborative Innovation, the project must focus on preventing waste from multiple organisations. To apply for Stream 2, we recommend finding another industry partner with a similar waste problem who can also be part of the solution implementation.

On whether Collaborative Partners could be organisations based overseas:

  • For Stream 2, can an international organisation be a Collaborative Partner?
  • Can an international institution or university be a Collaborative Partner?
  • If the Lead Applicant and Collaborative Partners are local, are additional international organisations excluded from the project?

To be a Lead Applicant or a Collaborative Partner, an organisation need an Australian Business Number (ABN) – it needs to be operating in Australia.

International organisations can take part as a project participant.

Does the Lead Applicant have to spend the grant money, or can the Collaborative Partners do so?

The Lead Applicant will hold the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria and receive all of the funds. The Lead Applicant should have their own agreement with Collaborative Partners regarding distribution of funds to Collaborative Partners.

Eligible projects

Make phase and Use phase

How about remanufacturing of parts and components, not just recycling as waste? And then how to bring those used products, parts or components back to the ‘make’ phase (like refurbishing)?

The project must focus on the ‘make’ phase and the ‘use’ phase. These phases can include reuse and refurbishing.

When applying for this fund, you will need to explain clearly how your project sits within those phases.

Circular products and services

Would the regenerative agriculture space be considered as part of an application for circular products or services?

Yes, this can be considered. The application must also meet the rest of the eligibility criteria.

When applying, explain how the circular product or service aligns with the principles of a circular economy, which includes “regenerating natural systems”.

Read the Guidelines to determine if your project is eligible.

This is about the question, “Provide an estimate of the number of new circular products or services created by the project”. If it is a shared service for many firms with an unknown number of products, is it considered as one? Or should I estimate how many products that the service applies to? If one type of product is created and it can be made into several products, is that considered as one or many?

If you are creating one product type or one service for many firms, the answer would be ‘one’.

In the application form, the next question is, “Outline the methodology and assumptions for this estimation and why the products/services you are creating should be considered ‘circular’”. This is where you can provide more details about the eventual reach of the product or service.

Recycling and recycled content products

Additional definitions

Recycling:
Converting waste into a reusable material. It is a term that may be used to cover a wide range of activities, including collection, sorting, reprocessing and manufacture into new products. For the purpose of this fund, it also includes: involving a process that changes its original form so it can be used again.

Recycled content:
Waste material that has been recovered, reprocessed, and recycled in the creation of a new product.

Re-use:
Using a product more than once in its original form, for the same purpose or a different purpose.

Waste:

This refers to:

  • any discarded, rejected, unwanted, surplus or abandoned matter, including where intended for recycling, reprocessing, recovery, purification or sale
  • anything that is no longer valued by its owner for use or sale and which is, or will be, discarded.For this fund, ‘waste’ refers to non-hazardous, non-prescribed, solid waste materials ranging from municipal garbage to industrial waste.

Textiles: Any textile material or product made with textile materials, such as clothing, footwear, carpet, soft furnishings, industrial textiles and fibres.

On the definition of recycling:

  • It sounds like upcycling textiles (as opposed to, say, breaking them down through shredding) is considered as recycling for the purpose of this grant. Can you elaborate?
  • I'm still a little unclear on the definition of recycling. If our project is diverting manufacturing waste via upcycling in the ‘make’ phase, is it eligible?
  • Can you define recycling projects that would not be eligible for funding? For example, when it comes to textiles, does recycling refer to ‘just mechanical or chemical recycling’ (that would not be eligible for funding) and ‘repurposing, remake and reuse strategies’ would be eligible for funding?

We have created more definitions to help with understanding. Go to the section Additional definitions.

Recycling includes a process that changes a product or material’s original form so it can be used again. Reuse involves using the product or material in its original form.

Typically, repurposing, remake and reuse strategies are considered part of the ‘use’ phase and do not involve a change to the product or material’s original form. Therefore they would be eligible for funding.

What if the plan to reduce or eliminate waste is based on using own waste stream as input instead of virgin materials? Is that still in the ‘make’ phase or is it recycled content product?

If the project focuses on recycling waste materials (defined as ‘including a step that changes their original form’) or using them to create a recycled content product, it would not be eligible, regardless of the source of the waste.

This question is about recycled content. Can you use the waste from another product to create a second product, that is, to repurpose waste for another purpose?


‘Recycled content’ is waste material that has been recovered, reprocessed, and recycled in the creation of a new product. If your project focuses on recycled content products, it would not be eligible for funding.

We have created more definitions to help with understanding. Go to the section Additional definitions.

Is salvaging a waste product and creating new products from the new material outside of the recycling scope?

Recycling includes a process that changes a product or material’s original form so it can be used again. Reuse involves using it in its original form. Recycled content is waste material that has been recovered, reprocessed, and recycled in the creation of a new product.

If your project focuses on reuse, it may be eligible. If your project focuses on recycled content products, it would not be eligible for funding.

We have created more definitions to help with understanding. Go to the section Additional definitions.

I understand the project is not focused on downstream recycling, but is manufacturing or upcycling of industrial waste included?

The project must not focus on recycling of any type of waste, whether it is from post-consumer or pre-consumer (manufacturing or industrial) waste sources.

The project needs to focus on preventing waste, rather than recycling.

You have said that re-designing systems to eliminate waste is acceptable, however, waste recycling including feasibility will not be funded. Can this be clarified please?

Projects that focus solely on waste recycling are ineligible.

This round of funding is focused on upstream solutions and innovation, such as redesign of products and services.

Your project may incorporate recycling but cannot focus on it.

When applying for this fund, you need to clearly explain the project focus and all project elements.

Is end-of-life textile product, destined for landfill (no solution) deemed as a recyclable item? And would the funding enable innovative testing for creation of commercial or domestic saleable products?

This sounds like an innovation that relates to recycling and recycled content product development. If this is the project focus, it would not be eligible.

Is recycling an end-of-life product considered as waste recycling?


Yes, this would be considered as waste recycling.

If the focus is on ‘make’ phase, can recycled content product be part of that solution?

Your project may incorporate recycled content products but cannot focus on it. When applying for this fund, explain clearly the project focus and all project elements.

Waste collection

We are working with a local council on a route optimisation model. This may reduce the waste collection cost significantly if become successful. Does a project of this nature consider eligible for this grant?

From the information provided, this seems to be a project that is focused on waste collection. Therefore, it would not be eligible.

Your council partner may wish to consider the Recycling Victoria Councils Fund.

Type of waste

If the innovation involves food waste reduction, is that eligible for this round?

Yes, it is eligible for Stream 2, provided that it meets the other requirements. When applying, you need to tell us what type of waste you are preventing.|

Can we focus on liquid waste only?


No, the project must focus on solid waste. Liquid waste projects are not eligible for funding.

We have created more definitions to help with understanding. Go to the section Additional definitions.

Others

On project eligibility:

  • How about providing innovative solutions to minimise industry reliance on petroleum-based toxic feedstock?
  • Would funding for the research, design and development of digital platforms for circular products and services be considered?
  • Are waste and recycle compostable products allowed?
  • Would producing green advanced materials from locally sourced raw materials, with a collaborative industrial, regarded as eligible project activities?

We are unable to provide an answer as to whether the projects are eligible. Please read this page and the Guidelines to determine whether your project is eligible.

If you still have questions, contact our Grants enquiries team.

How set in stone is the October 2023 completion date? If I can present a good argument for why the project will take longer, can it be pushed back to, say, February 2024?

Unfortunately, we can only accept applications for projects that are completed before October 2023. This is to be fair to all applicants, as that’s the timeframe that has been advertised.

If we have already received a previous government grant for the project, is it still eligible?

If the project activities have received funding before, the project is not eligible for funding.

Project activities that have not been funded before may be eligible. For instance, if the funds were for an earlier stage of the project, for entirely separate activities, or for a related project.

You mentioned projects must “prevent waste from multiple organisations”. Do all Collaborative Partners have to be waste generators or can some simply be part of the solution?

Not all Collaborative Partners need to be waste generators, they can be part of the solution. However, for Stream 2, the project must focus on preventing waste from multiple organisations.

When you say that Stream 2 projects need to be limited to one sector, how narrow does that need to be? Our idea involves a portfolio of different elements.

Stream 2 does not need to be limited to one sector.

Although the criteria is that the project must prevent waste from multiple organisations within a specific supply chain, sector or region, you can include multiple sectors. When applying, you will need to specify the sectors and the number of organisations and the number of organisations that the project may impact by preventing waste.

You said that the business needs to be in Victoria. What if one is in Victoria and one is in South Australia – would they be eligible?

Yes, but more than 50 percent of activities need to be undertaken in Victoria.

Regarding the requirement of ‘50% of activities being located in Victoria’, is that with respect to waste stream diversion? Or does that include all activities (that is, including desktop research or consulting activities)?


It applies to all project activities.

Is project testing is allowed to be done outside Victoria?


Yes, if 50% of activities are still happening in Victoria.

Funding amount and co-contribution

With $750,000 total funding and a minimum allocation of $75,000 per project, will the number of funded projects be 10 or less?

Yes, we expect to fund up to 10 projects in this round.

Does the total amount of funding available include the funding from the project lead and team? For example, is it a maximum of $125,000 from Sustainability Victoria and $125,000 from Project Team, or $250,000 from Sustainability Victoria and $250,000 from the Project Team?

The funding available is the contribution from Sustainability Victoria.

This means:

  • For Stream 1 – Sustainability Victoria will contribute between $75,000 and $150,000.
  • For Stream 2 – Sustainability Victoria will contribute between $150,000 and $250,000.

The project team must at least match the amount of funding they apply for.

Does the 20% cash contribution need to be provided by the Lead Applicant or Collaborative Partners, or both?

It does not matter whether that component of the Co-contribution is made by the Lead Applicant, Collaborative Partners, or both.

What form does the cash contribution take and what can it be used on? For example, should it be used on all the things that Sustainability Victoria would not fund?

The cash contribution can be used on any type of cost if it is demonstrated to be directly related to the project.

Are cash contributions paid to Sustainability Victoria and then paid back to the project?

No, the cash contribution is spent by the Lead Applicant or Collaborative Partners.

You will need to provide proof of the expenditure for the evidence-based and performance-based milestone payments.

How do you account for and record In-kind Contributions? For instance, how do you value volunteer work?


The In-kind Contribution of volunteer work should be calculated by grant applicants based on the equivalent costs that would have been incurred if the person was receiving remuneration as a paid employee or contractor.

You need to make your own estimation, as this may vary between different industries and sectors. If your project is funded, you would need to provide evidence of the In-kind Contributions provided to the project as part of your reporting.

Funding expenditure

I have been working on my start-up without pay since the start of this year. Can I put these hours down at fair market rate as an In-kind Co-contribution?

No, retrospective funding is not provided.

Application form

In the application form for Stream 2, there’s a question, ‘Number of organisations producing this waste type in Victoria’. What does this mean, especially if the waste type is very common?

This question refers to the requirement for Stream 2 projects to prevent waste from multiple organisations.

This question has been updated. In the application form, the question is now, “Number of organisations producing this waste type in Victoria that will reduce their waste through this project”.

Are there any consultants who can assist with our applications?

As this is a contested application process, we are unable to consult or assist you with your application. There are external consultants who could assist but we are not able to make recommendations.

With regards to waste prevented in the future, what time frame does that refer to?

You can choose the time frame for your estimation.

Can employment created be in periphery roles (such as machinists, manufacturing suppliers, social media marketing) or do you mean direct employment? I imagine sole traders (individual businesses) would contract out or work with various suppliers.

The employment must be a direct result of the funded project. It does not have to be within the Lead Applicant or Collaborative Partner organisations.

If your project receives funding, you would need to provide evidence of the employment created as part of your grant reporting.

Others

Can we find out what projects have been funded in the past?

For a list of previous recipients, go to the webpage Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund – Funded projects.

Can we find out what projects were not funded [in previous rounds]?

No, we do not disclose the details of unsuccessful applications.

During the presentation, it was mentioned that there is a fund focused on councils. What was it?

Please go to the webpage Recycling Victoria Councils Fund: Stream 1.

For projects like repair cafes and social enterprises at waste facilities, should we be looking at funds targeting councils or communities?

Please check the funds’ guidelines to ensure the project meets the eligibility criteria.