Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) Plastics Technology Stream
Updated: Sep 5
In a significant move towards strengthening Australia's recycling capabilities, the Australian Government has recently unveiled a $60 million national infrastructure funding initiative called the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) Plastics Technology stream. The aim of this stream is to drive substantial increases in the country's recycling rates for hard-to-recycle plastics, addressing critical gaps in the recycling infrastructure. This strategic funding boost is set to empower projects that can effectively tackle the challenges posed by hard-to-recycle plastics, which often have low recovery and recycling rates due to their complex nature and the lack of appropriate recycling technologies.
Applications for eligible projects within the Plastics Technology stream are now open, with a focus on those located in Victoria. The grants available for these projects range from $1 million to $20 million, with a deadline for completion set at the latest by 30 June 2027. However, applicants must bear the responsibility of contributing at least 50% towards the eligible project costs, ensuring shared commitment to this crucial environmental cause.
Applications close: 11.59 pm, Monday 4 September 2023.
The Plastics Technology stream's objectives are multi-faceted, with the overarching goal of significantly increasing recycling and recovery rates of hard-to-recycle plastics. This, in turn, will build domestic and international confidence in investing in recycling infrastructure within Australia, fostering a safe circular economy for plastics and transforming waste plastic into valuable new products like food-grade plastic packaging. Moreover, the initiative is expected to generate long-term employment opportunities, contributing to a more highly skilled workforce in the Australian recycling industry while actively combating plastic pollution to protect the environment.
Sustainability Victoria (SV) has been entrusted with the responsibility of administering the Plastics Technology stream on behalf of both the Victorian and Australian governments. As such, it will oversee the selection and implementation of suitable projects located in Victoria for funding by the Australian Government. This merit-based approach will ensure that the most promising and effective projects receive the necessary support to succeed in their objectives.
The projects eligible for funding under the Plastics Technology stream encompass a wide range of endeavours. These include advanced recycling projects specifically targeting hard-to-recycle plastics like mixed, multi-layer, flexible, or contaminated plastics. Additionally, commercialisation and scaling-up of emerging and trial technologies aiming to achieve circularity in the recycling of hard-to-recycle plastics will be supported.
The initiative also caters to infrastructure upgrades and innovative technologies that can extract and process plastics found within various products, such as e-waste, into higher-value products. To divert plastics from landfills, proposals to equip existing or new material recovery facilities or plastic recovery facilities with advanced sorting, separation, and de-contamination technology like optical or robotic machinery are encouraged.
Furthermore, consortium-based proposals that promote end-to-end solutions and circularity in the plastics supply chain will be considered for funding. Such collaborative endeavours can be instrumental in tackling the complexities associated with hard-to-recycle plastics effectively.
Eligibility for application is not limited to any single sector, as both businesses and industries, local governments, social enterprises, and not-for-profits are invited to participate. This diversity ensures a broad scope of ideas and expertise, fostering innovation and comprehensive problem-solving in the quest for improved plastics recycling.
The application process for the Plastics Technology stream involves two distinct stages. The first stage will be the Victorian government assessment, led by SV. Applicants must submit their proposals to SV by 11:59 pm on Monday, 4th September 2023. Late applications will not be considered. An Interdepartmental Assessment Panel (IAP), coordinated by SV, will then evaluate the applications and recommend projects for internal government approvals and the Victorian Minister for Environment's consideration. The selected projects will subsequently undergo assessment by the Australian Government by 13th November 2023 in the second stage, led by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water (DCCEEW).
Upon successful selection and announcement of the Victorian projects by the Australian Government, SV will be responsible for contract management and administering all aspects of the funding in collaboration with industry partners. It's worth noting that the Victorian Government will not provide capital funding to the projects, making it essential for the projects to have a sustainable financial model with their required contribution.
The RMF Plastics Technology stream is a crucial part of the broader Recycling Modernisation Fund, a $250 million initiative by the Australian Government. The fund is aimed at accelerating Australia's circular economy, ensuring products are either reused, recycled, or remanufactured once they are no longer useful for their original purpose. This ambitious undertaking reflects the nation's commitment to sustainable waste management and environmental protection.
Stage 1: Victorian government assessment led by SV
Applications must be submitted to SV by 11:59 pm, Monday 4 September 2023. Late applications will not be accepted.
Applications will be assessed by an Interdepartmental Assessment Panel (IAP), coordinated by SV. The IAP will recommend projects to proceed internal government approvals and to the Victorian Minister for Environment.
Victoria will recommend applications for assessment by the Australian Government by 13 November 2023.
Stage 2: Australian Government assessment led by DCCEEW outlined in the guidelines
After successful Victorian projects are announced by the Australian Government, SV will manage contracts and administer all aspects of the funding with industry partners. The Victorian Government is not providing capital funding to projects.
Please note, Australian Government assessment and announcement dates are indicative only and are subject to change.
There is no date for the announcement of application outcomes by the Australian Government. We will provide applicants with updates when available.
The timeline includes the Victorian assessment dates.
Applications close: 11.59 pm, Monday 4 September 2023.
Victorian government submits applications to the Australian Government: by 13 November 2023.
Notification of outcome from the Victorian assessment process: November 2023.
Australian Government assessment: December 2023 to February 2024.
Notification of outcome from the Australian Government: February 2024.
Funding agreements established: Early 2024.
Project completed by: 30 June 2027 at the latest.
The RMF Plastics Technology stream
Intended outcomes of the Plastics Technology stream The Plastics Technology stream is intended to deliver national solutions that drive significant increases in Australia’s recycling and recovery rates for hard-to-recycle plastics, and increased collaboration across supply chains to promote a safe circular economy. Projects should be underpinned by identified need, based on objective data, such as the Australian Plastics Flows and Fates Study
The Plastics Technology stream will achieve this by supporting projects such as:
Advanced recycling projects targeting hard-to-recycle plastics, such as mixed, multi-layer, flexible or contaminated plastics
Commercialisation and scaling-up of emerging and trial technology targeting circularity of hard-to-recycle plastics
Infrastructure upgrades and innovative technology to help 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 advanced 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.
Eligible activities include:
advanced recycling projects targeting hard-to-recycle plastics
commercialisation or scaling-up of emerging and trial technology
technology to extract plastics from products (such as e-waste) to make high-value products
equipment for existing or new material or plastic recovery facilities
end-to-end solutions for our plastics supply chain.
Applications must be for:
new infrastructure, technology, processes, machinery or equipment
an improvement or expansion of existing infrastructure, technology, processes, machinery and/or equipment
commercialisation or scaling up to build or increase existing capacity.
Applications are required to submit the following documents:
A complete and signed application form.
Letter/s of support from all Consortium member(s).
Cost-benefit and financial analysis.
Any additional supporting information or attachments.
Any additional information required by the application form.
Applications must include (but are not limited to) the following information:
Project details including any associated activities.
Expected outcomes and benefits of the project and how it supports the objectives of the RMF Plastics Technology stream and national priorities.
Timetable and tangible milestones.
A clear, comprehensive budget and financial management strategy including your co-contribution.
Evidence demonstrating the economic viability of the project over its operational life.
Avoidance, mitigation and management measures to minimise adverse environmental impacts from the project including but not limited to climate change and pollution.
Details of any planning or regulatory requirements for the project.
Consultation plan with relevant stakeholders including Traditional Custodians and communities.
Haines Consulting Group is a management consultancy firm specialising in business strategy, growth, government grants and new venture developments. If you need any assistance with a grant submission please contact us now for a confidential conversation.