The $60 million Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) is addressing critical gaps in Australia’s recycling infrastructure. By supporting more advanced recycling technologies, there is an expectation to unlock opportunities for previously hard-to-recycle plastics like soft plastics, boost our plastics recycling rates, support the transition away from virgin plastics and drive towards a safe circular economy for plastics.
Deadlines and Timings
Applications are open and will close on 13 November 2023 at 5:00pm AEDT. The project must be commissioned and operational by 30 June 2027 at the latest.
Overview and Grant Amount
The objectives of the Plastics Technology stream are to:
- significantly increase Australia’s recycling and recovery rates of hard-to-recycle plastics
- support a safe circular economy for plastics in Australia to transform waste plastic into valuable new products, such as food-grade plastic packaging
- build domestic and international confidence to invest in recycling infrastructure in Australia
- support long-term job creation and a more highly skilled workforce in the Australian recycling industry
- protect our environment through reduced plastic pollution
Funding under the plastics technology stream is available for projects which target hard-to-recycle plastics which are plastics in wase streams where there are:
- low recovery and recycling rates due to difficulties in recycling, and
- currently limited infrastructure and technology solutions to support circularity in the supply chain
Funding is available from 2023-24 until 30 June 2027 to support projects of significant scale. State and territory applicants may apply for a minimum grant of $1 million and a maximum grant of $20 million.
Eligibility and Criteria
Applications for funding are only open to state and territory governments and must have an identified project proponent. In the case of a consortium, each of the project proponents must be identified. Eligible project proponents (or in the case of a consortium, lead project proponents) are:
- an incorporated company that has an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Corporation
- an Australian entity or partnership incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
- an Australian research institution (can be a tertiary education institution, a government agency established for research, a cooperative research centre, an institute or centre of research or a privately owned and accredited research facility); consultancies are not considered to be research institutions
- a council, regional organisation of councils or other local government-controlled organisation
- a non-government/not-for-profit organisation (must comply with the Australian Taxation Office’s definition) with an established legal status, or those without legal status that can have grant funds administered by another organisation with legal status
- an Aboriginal Land Council
The project must:
- relate to eligible activities
- new infrastructure, technology, processes, machinery and/or equipment to recycle hard-to-recycle plastics
- an improvement or expansion of existing infrastructure, technology, processes, machinery and/or equipment to recycle hard-to-recycle plastics
- commercialisation or scaling up to build or increase existing capacity for recovering and recycling hard-to-recycle plastics
- demonstrate avoidance, mitigation and management measures for potential environmental impacts resulting from the project including carbon emissions
- demonstrate that the project is economically viable over its operational life
- demonstrate at least a 50% financial contribution towards eligible project costs from the project proponent, or in the case of a consortium proposal, the consortium members
- have written confirmation of state or territory support
Eligible activities are activities that have not yet commenced, that will increase the recovery and recycling rates of hard-to-recycle plastics and promote the objectives of a safe circular plastics economy, such as:
- advanced recycling projects targeting hard-to-recycle plastics, such as mixed, multi-layer, flexible or contaminated plastics
- commercialisation or scaling-up of emerging and trial technology targeting circularity of hard-to-recycle plastics
- infrastructure upgrades and technology to extract and process plastics contained within products, such as e-waste, into higher-value products
- proposals to equip existing or new material recovery facilities or plastic recovery facilities with sorting, separation and de-contamination technology such as optical or robotic machinery to increase the diversion of plastics from landfill
- proposals put forward by a consortium proposing end-to-end solutions and circularity in our plastics supply chain; for example, this may include supply chain collaboration between a collection and sorting facility of plastic waste, an advanced recycling facility, and manufacturers
Examples expenditures NOT eligible for funding
- purchase of land
- pre-construction activities such as site clearing or earthworks
- business case development and/or feasibility studies
- capital expenditure for the purchase of assets such as office furniture and equipment, motor vehicles, computers, printers or photocopiers and the construction, renovation, or extension of facilities such as buildings and laboratories not directly related to the project
- business as usual expenses, or maintenance costs
- routine operational expenses such as communications, postage, printing and stationery
- legal and accounting fees and bank charges, not directly related to the project
- non-project related costs, or costs associated with ineligible activities
The list is not exhaustive and other costs may be ineligible where they do not directly support the achievement of the planned outcomes for the project, or they are contrary to the objective of the program.
Projects that are predominantly waste to energy projects, or waste to fuel, are not eligible for funding. A project will only be considered for funding where any waste to fuel or waste to energy is incidental to, or a by-product of, a process that is primarily designed to achieve plastics circularity.
Applicants are encouraged to use Victorian service providers to assist with their project where possible. For more information, interested parties are encouraged to thoroughly read the program guidelines and FAQ set by the funding grant. Submissions of application package may be sent to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water email.
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