Melbourne opens Circular Economy Innovation Grants

The City of Melbourne will deliver $175,000 in grants to local businesses to support cutting waste, reducing emissions and boosting the circular economy.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said encouraging more efficient waste solutions would reduce costs for businesses and help make Melbourne a more sustainable city.

“We want to encourage ideas and innovation from local businesses to help us deliver smarter waste services across the city,” she said.

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

The Circular Economy Innovation Grants are available to help start-ups, small-to-medium sized food businesses, small non-food businesses, entrepreneurs and small non-food social enterprise organisations to help boost the circular economy.

“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,” Capp said.

The three grant categories include up to $5000 to research, test and prototype ways of minimising waste, up to $5000 for food businesses to reduce food waste and divert food waste from landfill and up to $2500 to access circular economy mentoring.

Previous grant recipients include a community legal service that made the switch from paper to digital files, research into permeable pavements made from used tyres, and a program to distribute quality used lab equipment to schools.

Applicants can apply for a combination of eligible categories and may receive up to $7500 each.

Environment portfolio lead Councillor Rohan Leppert said moving to a circular economy would see wide reaching benefits for the city.

“We want to support local businesses to help achieve our collective goal of transitioning to a circular economy, where our city produces less waste and maximises the life of materials through reuse, recycling and recovery,” he said.

Leppert added that hospitality and food retail businesses generate more than one third of commercial and industrial waste in the City of Melbourne, and have relatively low recycling rates compared to other businesses such as health care and office-based businesses.

“Reducing food waste can help businesses reduce the costs associated with waste,” he said.

“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, especially after a challenging year in 2020.”

Applications for the Circular Economy Innovation Grants close Tuesday 6 April.

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