Product Improvement Program

Round 2 of the Product Improvement Program (PIP) closed on Friday 26 July 2019.

Round 1 recipients were announced in February 2019.

The PIP supports the NSW resource recovery sector to respond to changes in recycling markets and meet NSW waste and resource recovery targets.

Round 2 of the PIP has been developed following a review and subsequent changes to three EPA grant programs that fund waste and recycling innovation and infrastructure projects. They are

  • the PIP
  • the Recycling Innovation Fund (RIF)
  • the Resource Recovery Facility Expansion and Enhancement Program (RRFEE).

An independent evaluation of the EPA’s RIF in 2018 recommended changes to the fund. These included a focus on innovative research and development projects and incorporating the infrastructure innovation stream into the existing Waste and Recycling Infrastructure Fund programs (PIP and RRFEE). At the same time, an internal review of the PIP and RRFEE found there was significant overlap between the two. As a result, the EPA has now combined the RIF, the PIP and RRFEE into a single program (Round 2 of the PIP).

This round has a total budget of $6.3 million and offers funding in two streams.

Stream 1 (Infrastructure projects)
Applicants interested in applying for an infrastructure grant (excluding those under the Major Resource Recovery Infrastructure Program) should apply under Stream 1. 

Stream 2 (Research and Development projects)
Applicants with a research and development proposal should apply under Stream 2, which has separate guidelines and application form.

About the PIP Stream 1 (Infrastructure projects)  

Stream 1 (Infrastructure projects) incorporates the RRFEE, the PIP, and infrastructure projects previously funded under the former RIF infrastructure stream. 

The PIP Infrastructure Stream is part of the NSW Government’s ongoing response to the challenges facing the waste industry in NSW. Infrastructure investment can stimulate local remanufacturing capacity in NSW and generate new industries and jobs in regional and rural communities. Developing local markets for high quality, post-consumer recycled materials keeps materials in use for longer, reduces dependency on international markets, and reduces the impacts of commodity price fluctuations.

Improving recycling systems will generate higher quality recovered materials that can be used more easily for a greater range of purposes and for a longer time. The PIP Infrastructure Stream provides industry an opportunity to identify new uses and markets for recyclable materials, to develop local processing and remanufacturing capability to help ensure recycling services are maintained in future years and to increase the recovery of priority problem wastes.

Stream 1 (Infrastructure projects) objectives

The program targets

  • waste generated by households (yellow-lid bin) and commercial and industrial premises, e.g. mixed paper/cardboard, plastics, glass, tyres, engineered and treated timbers, e-waste and plasterboard
  • identified priority waste materials
  • wastes generated by construction and demolition works.

The program supports co-investment in infrastructure projects that aim to do one or more of the following

  • improve the quality of recycled materials produced by material recovery facilities (MRFs) to better supply local and international markets and reduce the amount of unrecyclable material left at the end of the recycling process
  • increase the amount of waste materials recycled in NSW and divert additional waste from landfill by accelerating and stimulating investment in recycling infrastructure
  • increase the capability and capacity to recover and reprocess waste materials in NSW
  • increase the use of recycled content in the manufacture of products within NSW
  • increase the recovery of identified priority waste materials.

Available funding

A total of $6.3 million is available for PIP grants (across both streams).

Funding and Eligibility

Grants of between $50,000 and $1,000,000 are available to fund infrastructure projects.

The grant will support up to 50% of the capital costs for equipment or infrastructure. Councils and not-for-profit organisations that are eligible under the 'special consideration clause' may be eligible for funding of up to 75% of the capital costs. A co-contribution from the applicant organisation will be required.

Eligible organisations

To be eligible for this funding, an organisation must meet all of the following criteria

  • currently own and operate a facility that meets one of the following descriptions
    • an MRF that is licensed by the EPA or, if currently unlicensed, be in the process of obtaining an Environment Protection Licence from the EPA
    • an MRF that is currently operating under licensing thresholds, and the capacity of which is being expanded
    • a facility that reprocesses recovered waste material
    • a facility that manufactures goods from post-consumer products (e.g. plastics, glass).
  • be one of the following types of organisations
    • council (as defined in the NSW Local Government Act 1993), regional organisation of councils or other local government-controlled organisation
    • non-government/not-for-profit organisation (must comply with the ATO’s definition) with an established legal status
    • non-government/not-for-profit organisation (must comply with the ATO’s definition) without a legal status that is able to have grant funds administered by another organisation
    • a company or partnership as defined under the Commonwealth Corporations Act 2001
    • a State Government entity
  • have a history of compliance with NSW environment protection laws.

About the PIP Stream 2 (Research and Development)

The aim of Stream 2 is to fund innovative research and development projects that will help to develop new, or expand existing, recycled material (product) markets. This includes projects that introduce new, or improve existing, approaches and technologies to increase the efficiency of recycling facilities that manage or are impacted by problem wastes.

The EPA recognises that innovation comes with risks and a moderate rate of failure, and it is usually a collective and cumulative process. Investment in research and development is critical for generating the new knowledge required to create or improve products, services and processes. This funding will stimulate ideas by playing an early role in the research and development process in partnership with project proponents.

Stream 2 (Research and Development) objective

The objective of this stream is to support research and development that pursues innovation that can promote a holistic market response and will lead to increased recovery of problem wastes in NSW. This program stream is particularly seeking solutions for problem wastes that are not targeted by other Waste Less, Recycle More grant programs. For more details of the identified problem wastes see the Guide for Applicants (Stream 2) 


Eligible organisations include

  • research institutions can be a tertiary education institution, a government agency established for the purpose of research, a Cooperative Research Centre, an Institute or Centre of Research or a privately owned and accredited research facility
  • not-for-profit organisations/non-government (must comply with the ATO’s definition) with an established legal status, or those without a legal status that are able to have grant funds administered by another organisation with legal status
  • NSW local councils (as defined in the NSW Local Government Act 1993)
  • other local-government controlled organisations (or deemed to have the same local government function)
  • private industry or partnership as defined under the Corporations Act
  • Regional Organisations of Councils (ROC) where they apply and/or coordinate projects on behalf of one or several NSW councils within their regional group, provided each council nominates a contact person for the project.


Grants of between $20,000 and $150,000 are available, covering up to 50% of costs relating to research and development projects.

A co-contribution from the applicant organisation will be required. The applicant's co-contribution must be cash-based, which can be attributed to payment of specific invoices covering at least 50% of the eligible costs and at least equal to the grant amount.

Information session

The EPA held an information session and a webinar on Wednesday 12 June 2019, 10.00am – 12.30pm. The session provided information for potential applicants including local government, waste service providers, manufacturers, industry, and not-for profit organisations.

A recording of the information session can be viewed. 

Application forms and guidelines 

Applications for Round 2 closed on 26 July 2019.

More information

For more information contact the Waste and Recycling Infrastructure Unit by phone on (02) 9995 6920 or email

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