Organics market development grants

Under the Waste Less, Recycle More Extension, a further $4.5 million has been allocated to organics market development over 4 years from 2017-21, including $3 million for grants. The next round is scheduled to open in October 2017.

Program snapshot

Category: Organics Infrastructure Fund

Amounts: Total of $5.5 million

This grant program is currently being evaluated. Eligibility criteria will be released when the new grant program is released in late 2017. See guidelines from previous rounds for more information.

Eligible bodies: Local councils, business, government institutions, not-for-profit organisations, and industry associations. Businesses that process recycled organics are not individually eligible.

Contact: (02) 9995 6874 or

Stream 1: Product Quality – Closed
Stream 2: Market Development – Closed

Managed by: NSW Environment Protection Authority

Aim of the grants

The development of new markets and expansion of existing markets to support the increase in supply of recycled food and garden organics generated through other grants programs under Waste Less Recycle More.

The objectives of the Organics Market Development Grants Program were to:

  • facilitate the expansion of the NSW markets for recycled organic materials by an additional 70,000 tonnes by June 2017
  • reduce contamination from source-separated organics collection systems to improve end market confidence in recycled organic products
  • change awareness, knowledge, behaviours and practices around the use of recycled organic products.

Program streams

  • Stream 1: Product Quality – Grants of between $10,000 and $50,000 are available for projects that can best deliver outcomes to improve the quality of recycled organics products.
  • Stream 2: Market Development – Contestable grants from $50,000 to $500,000 for projects that develop new markets or expand existing markets for recycled organics. 

Past recipients

Stream 1: Product Quality

Australian Soil Management
Develop an RO Specification for control of African Lovegrass in the Cooma Monaro

African Lovegrass (ALG) is a hardy, drought tolerant perennial grass species, regarded as a weed in the Cooma – Monaro Shire of NSW, costing the region an estimated $3 million a year. Existing control measures include herbicides, heavy grazing, mowing and burning, which are shown to limit the spread of the weed, have not been effective once the weed becomes established. This project builds on a trial which is showing strong potential for high-grade compost to control ALG, if combined with preferred management practices. It involves the development of a Recycled Organics Product Specification for ALG control, supporting the local market for recycled organics, with potential across the rest of NSW.

Australian Organics Recycling Association
Review and revision of AS4419 – Soils for landscape and garden use

This funding will support national work to update AS4419 – Soils for Landscaping and Garden Use Standard, originally published in 1978 and revised in 2003. Since that time, the technology, manufacture and use of soils for landscaping and garden use has advanced considerably, with many new products using recycled organics. This project, also supported with funding from the Victorian and South Australian governments, will result in a reviewed Standard being published which will provide specifications, including the use of recycled organics, for all products which are fit for purpose as Soils for Landscaping and Garden Use.

Australian Organics Recycling Association
Compost Benefits Calculator (Stage 2)

The AORA Compost Benefits Calculator will be upgraded to be accessible on multiple mobile platforms to support the recycled organics industry’s engagement with customers. The Compost Benefits Calculator enables product suppliers to explain to customers the agronomic benefits of composted products, compared to existing (or intended) production inputs.  It acts as a knowledge bridge between researchers, the compost industry and farmers to ultimately increase the agricultural market for recycled organics.

AgEnviro Solutions Pty Ltd
AgEnviro Specification Project

Building on many years’ experience working with sports turf managers to optimise pitch quality, this project will develop a specification for the application of compost on sporting fields to give confidence to the quality of supply. The specification will apply for compost applied as topdressing, compost that is incorporated and compost as a component of a topdress or underlay mix. It paves the way for increased uptake of compost within a very large market, with an estimated 2620 hectares of council managed sporting fields in the greater Sydney area alone potentially utilising up to 83,800 cubic metres of compost product a year.

MRA Consulting Group
Freshcare Food Safety Compliant Compost

This project has overcome a major barrier for the use of recycled organics in horticulture by addressing restrictions on its use within the Freshcare code of practice. Freshcare is the voluntary quality assurance code of practice for the fresh vegetable industry and is used as the basis on which the major supermarket chains develop their own Approved Supplier compliance systems. This project brought key stakeholders together in a working group to identify the barriers, demonstrate how recycled organics are safe and effective inputs, and recommend changes to the code. A set of guidelines on producing recycled organics to meet code requirements for the recycled organics industry has been developed and are now available.

MRA Consulting Group
Recycled Organics Specifications for Vegetable and Fruit Production

This project involves researching and revising two existing product specifications to update the characteristics for recycled organics for use in the vegetable and orchard industries. The revised specifications will be promoted to the recycling processing industry and horticulture sectors to encourage the manufacture and application of products tailored for use in vegetable and fruit production .

Stream 2: Market Development

AgEnviro Solutions Pty Ltd
Expanding sports field markets for the use of compost

This project will showcase how compost can improve the turf performance on 150 of NSW worst performing playing fields, identified by the NSW Football Association. Compost will be applied to amend and improve turf performance, with potentially three sports fields and one racecourse as demonstration sites to show opportunities for major improvements in condition through compost use. The projects also involves developing technical advice and procedures for sporting field managers to maximise turf condition through using recycled organics.

Australian Soil Management (ASM)
Pathways to develop new markets and increase demand for compost

This project will address the historic depletion of organic matter in agricultural soils in three regions of NSW, the Central West, Riverina and Capital. It involves the development of customised plans for farmers engaged in grazing and broad acre cropping that will use compost as a key component to improve soil quality for increased productivity and profit. It will also connect farmers with opportunities to tap into the Federal Government's Carbon Abatement auctions where they can be reimbursed for input costs by capturing more carbon through compost use.

Compost Rocks!

Dirtgirl and scrapboy will establish a Compost Academy to encourage the householder to find multiple uses for compost. The four pillars of the Academy are: Education, Demonstration, Participation and Celebration. The project will include the development of a toolkit for all local councils in NSW to distribute free through their environmental and sustainability education programs, a campaign plan to accompany the toolkit for councils' use and the online 'Compost Rocks! Compost Academy', a 12-month dirtgirlworld-led social media campaign.

The Hills Bark Blower
Specifying compost blanket use on new and existing NSW roadways

The Hills Bark Blower, Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) and Penelope's Garden will be building on excellent research, coupled with site based learning, to consolidate the use of Compost Blankets as a part of everyday practice on sites around NSW. The effectiveness of Compost Blankets as an erosion control solution and rehabilitation tool on denuded construction sites has been proven. This project will train RMS operatives to use the products.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services
Next Gen Compost

This project aims to 'unlock' the potential for recycled organics by directly addressing the current mismatch between product supply and end-user preferences and perceptions. Multiple on-farm demonstrations will promote the sustainable use of soils through the addition of compost with a nutrient profile tailored to individual sites. The quality of produce, handling, application, water efficiencies and improved management of plant pathogens will be demonstrated. In parallel, surveys and other social engagement, led by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (UTS), will reveal a suite of technical, financial, knowledge-based and social barriers and opportunities to the uptake of compost in horticulture to generate on-going and increasing demand for recycled organic products. This research will then inform an intensive communication, extension and outreach program by NSW Farmers.

MRA Consulting Group
Organics on the Farm - Central West project

The Organics on the Farm - Central West project aims to normalise the supply chain for recycled organics to a massive potential market. A multi-pronged approach will leverage existing research showing compost benefits on soils in the region to educate rural advisors, engage farmers and integrate recycled organics into the existing procurement chain. It is estimated to boost the market for recycled organics in the region by at least 14,000 tonnes.

MRA Consulting Group
Recycled Organics Professional Development for Rural Advisors

This project will tap into existing training provided to rural advisors to integrate recycled organics into their sales knowledge. Professional development training will be developed and delivered through Fertcare, a voluntary training and accreditation program for the fertiliser industry. The project will see Recycled Organics competencies added to the Fertcare Accredited Advisor (FAA) component of the program and business agreements being established between recycled organics producers and rural agents to normalise the purchasing of recycled organics within the broad-acre agriculture sector.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
Compost in banana and blueberry growing

This project will develop sustainable markets for recycled organic compost and mulch in northern NSW broad acre horticulture by establishing interactive demonstration sites trialling different application techniques demonstrating to growers the multiple benefits of recycled organics. Extension and marketing activities will include field walks, field days and workshops, social media, DPI Prime Facts, journal and media articles and a final project report. A simple cost /benefit analysis will be included in the Prime Fact so growers and advisers will be able to make informed decisions about the profitable use of compost in horticulture, providing the NSW compost industry with a legacy of credible data, packaged for ongoing marketing use.

Round 1 guidelines

The application process and eligibility criteria are detailed in the Guidelines for Applicants:

Application forms and supporting documents:

Stream 1: Product Quality– complete and submit all three parts

Stream 2: Market Development – For information only. Stream 2 is now closed.

Submit the completed application to

Note: Applications must not be larger than 10MB including all attachments.

Download the Organics Market Development grants presentation (PDF 1.1MB) from the webinar and information sessions held in Bathurst and Parramatta.

Deed of Agreement

The successful grantee will be required to enter into a performance-based Deed of Agreement (PDF 140KB), which will stipulate all funding obligations and conditions.

More information

Organics Unit
Phone: 02 9995 6874

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