Big cash grant for low-waste solutions

By Jess Carrascalao Heard

The City of Melbourne is offering local businesses the chance to share in a grants pool of $175,000 in a bid to encourage better waste management.

The Circular Economy Innovation Grant is available to small businesses, start-ups and social enterprise with 20 or fewer workers based in the City of Melbourne, as well as small- to medium-size food businesses with 199 or fewer workers.

The maximum value for individual grants between $2500 and $5000, with the possibility of businesses applying for up to $7500 depending on eligibility criteria.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council wanted to encourage ideas and innovation from local businesses to help them deliver smarter waste services across the city.

“Waste and recycling services are core council responsibilities and we want to support local business and organisations to find new and improved ways of reducing waste and participating in the circular economy,” the Lord Mayor said.

The council defines a circular economy on their website as “a system aimed at minimising waste and making the most of resources”, with the aim to getting businesses to a goal of zero waste.

The $175,000 fund was developed as part of council’s Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

There are three streams of funding available for grants:

  • Stream 1: Mentorship and expertise (up to $2500)
  • Stream 2: Researching an idea ($5000)
  • Stream 3: Implementing an idea ($5000)

Each stream has different aims and eligibility criteria, with Stream 1 focusing on skills development and Stream 2 offering funding for ideas development and research.

Stream 3, which is only available to food businesses, focuses on helping them reduce organic waste, or divert it from landfill.

Businesses can apply for up to two funding streams and a total of $7500, depending on their eligibility.

The council’s environment portfolio chair Cr Rohan Leppert said council wanted to support businesses to transition to a circular economy.

“The grants are our way of helping businesses overcome the challenges in managing their waste. We appreciate it’s not easy and can be expensive,” he said.

All projects must be completed by March 31 2022, and acquittals returned by May 31 2022.

The Lord Mayor encouraged businesses to apply.

“Whether you run a café or an accounting firm, you may be eligible for these grants, so please apply if you have an idea about how your business could become more sustainable by reducing waste,” Cr Capp said.

Applications close on Tuesday, April 6 •

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