Circular Plastics Program

Expressions of Interest for Circular Plastics Round 1 grants opened on 23 September 2022. Applications close at 11.59 pm on 17 November 2022.

Program snapshot

Grant Fund: Circular Materials Fund

Grant program: Circular Plastics

Amounts: Round 1 - up to $5 million

Eligible applicants: Small to medium manufacturers with fewer than 200 full-time equivalent staff involved at the ‘make’ phase of the product lifecycle. The ‘make’ phase is the initial manufacturing phase of a product.

Application process: Submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) through the SmartyGrants portal.

Applications shortlisted from the EOI Stage will be eligible to participate in Stage 2 – Detailed Application.

Status: Open for applications.

Contact: Waste and Recycling Infrastructure Unit by email infrastructure.grants@epa.nsw.gov.au or by phone on (02) 9995 6920 or (02) 8837 6315.

Aims

The Circular Plastics Program provides new grant funding opportunities under the $10 million Circular Materials Fund (CMF). The CMF was created to support businesses in the transition to better plastic products and increase the recycling rate of plastics in NSW. This transition is a key action of the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 and NSW Plastics Action Plan. The objectives of the CMF are to:

  • reduce the amount of virgin plastic used
  • reduce the amount of hard-to-recycle plastics used
  • increase the amount of recycled plastic in products
  • catalyse partnerships between producers, end users and the resource recovery sector.

Information session

There will be an online information session at 10:30am on 11 October 2022.

Register online via On24

Available funding

A total of $5 million is available under Round 1. Funding will be available through two streams:

Funding stream

Funding cap per project

1. Sole Applicant

$100,000 – $500,000

2. Collaborative Partnerships

$250,000 – $750,000

Stream 1 has been designed for individual manufacturers to apply for funding for projects involving new product design and/or processes in the manufacturing of plastic products.

Stream 2 has been designed for projects which involve strong and collaborative partnerships, with manufacturers as the lead applicant, to work across the plastic product lifecycle.

Further information about the requirements under the different streams is available in the Guidelines for Applicants (PDF 611KB).

Applications from both stream 1 and 2 will be competitively assessed for a share of the same $5 million funding pool. There is not separate funding available for each stream.

Lessons learned from the EOI process and Round 1 will inform the design of future funding rounds. Further details are available in the Future Funding Opportunities below.

Application process

Before applying, applicants should review the Guidelines for Applicants to determine whether their proposed project meets project eligibility requirements.

The Circular Plastics Program application process will be conducted in two stages:

Stage 1: Expression of Interest

Applicants will complete an EOI through the SmartyGrants platform outlining the proposed project, including activities to be delivered and outlining the commercial viability of the project. Applications will be assessed by an independent Technical Review Committee (TRC) who will then recommend a shortlist of projects to progress to stage 2. 

Stage 2: Detailed applications

Shortlisted applicants from stage 1 will be invited to progress to stage 2. In stage 2, applicants will have eight weeks to develop their final grant application, formalise partnerships, and complete a detailed budget and cost-benefit and financial analysis. The TRC will then assess the final applications and accompanying documents against the program guidelines and assessment criteria, to recommend projects to the EPA to be funded.

Future funding opportunities  

Further funding will be offered through the Circular Plastics Program following assessment and evaluation of Round 1 projects. Priorities for future funding rounds will be informed by lessons learned from Round 1. Applications for future grant funding will not be restricted to organisations that have applied for or received funding under Round 1.

The EPA invites interested parties to contact the Waste and Recycling Infrastructure team to discuss proposals for Round 1 of the Circular Plastics program. This may include:

  • discussing your project needs and how they align with the EPA’s goals and priorities
  • clarifying eligibility of projects or project activities
  • determining whether your project is more appropriate for Stream 1 or Stream 2 funding.

Please note that EPA staff are not able to provide detailed advice or assistance on how to respond to EOI form questions or budget templates and are not technical plastics experts.  

More information

Contact the Waste and Recycling Infrastructure Unit:

email: infrastructure.grants@epa.nsw.gov.au
phone: (02) 9995 6920 or (02) 8837 6315.

Background information 

NSW generates approximately 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year and only approximately 10 per cent of that is recycled. The remaining 90 per cent ends up in landfill or the natural environment, with a small proportion used to create refuse derived fuel. This represents a significant loss of materials from the productive economy.

The NSW Government identified this issue and has set targets under the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 and the NSW Plastics Action Plan including to triple the recycling rate of plastics by 2030.

This issue isn’t unique to NSW. CSIRO’s National Circular Economy Roadmap identified a lack of market demand for products made from recycled materials as a key challenge in the transition to a circular economy for plastics.

The Plastics Plan outlines a comprehensive suite of actions to address plastic at all stages of its lifecycle including to accelerate the transition to better plastic products through the $10 million Circular Materials Fund.