Circular Economy Innovation Fund – Round 2, Stream 1: Textiles Innovation

Last updated: 13 September 2022
Status: Applications closed
Closing date: Monday 15 November 2021, 11:59 pm
Total funding available: Between $75,000 and $150,000 per project

$1:$1 (SV:Applicant). Co-contributions can be either financial (cash) or In-kind. At least 20% of the Co-contribution must be cash contribution.

Available to: Research institutions, Businesses, Charities, Industry groups and associations
Prior to 1 July 2022, this fund was named the Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund

For round 2, the Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund (the Fund) aims to support Circular economy projects that design out waste to improve environmental and economic outcomes for Victoria.

The fund is distributed through 2 streams:

  • Stream 1: Textiles Innovation focuses on preventing textile waste. This page is about Stream 1.
  • Stream 2: Collaborative Innovation focuses on preventing waste from multiple organisations in a specific supply chain, sector or region. Read more about Stream 2.

The projects must:

  • be delivered by a Collaborative Partnership
  • be innovative (have never been done in Victoria before)
  • explore, test or demonstrate solutions that prevent waste in the make phase or the use phase of a resource lifecycle.

This grant is part of the Recycling Victoria policy funding.

Information bulletin

Find out more using the Information bulletin.

1. Fund overview

In a Circular economy, a resource lifecycle includes 3 key phases: make, use and recycle.

The project must explore, test or demonstrate solutions in the make phase or the use phase of the lifecycle. It must prevent waste by design.

Make phase

Refers to the design, production and distribution of products or services.

The project should be about designing materials, products or services to prevent waste.

Examples of activities that can be done in a project:

  • Create products that are durable, and can be more easily repaired or reused.
  • Provide virtual options for physical products.
  • Re-design products, services or systems to eliminate waste.
  • Use fewer materials or resources to deliver the same value to customers.
  • Use non-toxic, renewable materials as inputs.

Use phase

Refers to the consumption or use of goods and services.

The project should be about keeping materials and products in their original state for as long as possible.

Examples of activities that can be done in a project:

  • Enable shared use of, shared ownership of, or shared access to products.
  • Extend product life through maintenance, repair or refurbishment.
  • Reuse or re-sell second-hand products.

1.1 Fund objectives

The project must deliver at least 2 of these outcomes:

  • Creation of new Circular products and services
  • Avoidance of waste materials to any waste or recycling destination
  • Increase employment through Direct creation of Jobs.

1.2 Funding available

Each project can receive a grant between $75,000 and $150,000.

1.3 Co-contribution

The Lead Applicant and Collaborative Partners must together contribute at least $1 for every $1 funded (1:1 Co-contribution).

Co-contributions can be either financial (cash) or In-kind. At least 20% of the Co-contribution must be cash contribution.

Other grants cannot be used for Co-contribution.

2. Eligibility

2.1 Who can apply

The application must be made by at least 2 organisations. In such a group application (known as ‘Collaborative Partnership’), the main organisation responsible for delivering the project is the Lead Applicant , and the others are the Collaborative Partners.

Lead Applicant

The application must have one Lead Applicant.

The Lead Applicant must be from one of the following groups:

  • Businesses (including commercial or for-profit Businesses and Social Enterprises)
  • Charities
  • Industry Groups and Associations
  • Research Institutions.

The Lead Applicant must:

  • have a current Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have been operating with the ABN for at least 2 years by the fund closing date November 15, 2021
    meet or exceed the minimum Co-contribution requirements
  • agree to comply with the Terms of Participation in Grant Programs
  • agree to comply with the funding terms and conditions for grants over $50,000, as per the General grant funding agreement
  • lead the Collaborative Partnership according to requirements.

Collaborative Partner(s)

The application must have at least one Collaborative Partner. Related Entities of the Lead Applicant will not count towards the minimum Collaborative Partner requirement.

The Collaborative Partner must be from one of the following groups:

  • Businesses (including commercial or for-profit Businesses and Social Enterprises)
  • Charities
  • Community organisations or groups
  • Government or local government organisations
  • Industry Groups and Associations
  • Other Not-for-profit Organisations
  • Research Institutions.

The Collaborative Partner(s) must:

  • have a direct, clear role in the project
  • have a current ABN
  • have a demonstrated contribution (in-kind or financial contribution) to project delivery.

Each Collaborative Partner must provide a letter of support (or equivalent) that is signed by an authorised representative. It should detail:

  • their commitment to be publicly announced as a Collaborative Partner should funding be awarded
  • their roles and responsibilities in the project
  • the amount of cash or In-kind Contribution that has been committed to the project.

The Collaborative Partnership needs to be demonstrated by a formal agreement, such as a memorandum of understanding or equivalent. The agreement must be in place before the project commences.

We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

Sustainability Victoria manages several grants. Although you can apply for more than one grant for a project, you can only receive one grant. If you’ve already applied for a Sustainability Victoria grant and now find this grant is more relevant or suitable, you can withdraw your application by emailing us.

2.2 Who cannot apply

Refer to Section 2.1 for who can apply.

Organisations from these groups can participate as a Collaborative Partner but not as a Lead Applicant:

  • Community organisations or groups
  • Government or local government organisations
  • Other Not-for-profit Organisations.

2.3 What will be funded

The project must focus on:

  • designing out textile waste from the make or use phase of the resource lifecycle (in this case, for textiles)
  • an Innovation for Victoria (that is, it has not been done in Victoria before).

The Innovation could be a:

  • Business model Innovation – where a new product, process, service or system is created
  • technical Innovation – where a new technology is developed
  • social Innovation – where new capabilities, connections or relations are created.

The project must also:

  • start within 3 months after it’s announced that it has been awarded funding
  • primarily take place in Victoria – over 50% of activities should be in Victoria
  • be completed by October 2023.

Project activities can include:

  • business case development
  • design
  • experimental proof of concept
  • feasibility studies
  • ideation or concept generation
  • implementation
  • pilots, trials and demonstrations
  • prototyping
  • research.

The following project costs are eligible for funding:

  • capital costs (such as infrastructure or equipment)
  • new or existing staff costs (such as salaries) that are demonstrated to be directly related to the project
  • consultancy or contract costs
  • project management costs
  • project evaluation
  • other project execution costs.

You can submit multiple applications. Each application must be for a different project. An application must not be for multiple projects.

2.4 What will not be funded

Funding will not be provided for projects that focus on:

  • recycle, manage or energy recovery phases
    • waste recycling – including feasibility, capability building, collection or infrastructure
    • recycled content products – research, development, demonstration, commercialisation, standards or specifications
    • waste recovery – including feasibility, capability building, collection or infrastructure
    • waste-to-energy – Waste-to-energy technology is an energy recovery process that converts chemicals from waste residues into practical forms of energy like electricity, heat or steam.
    • bioenergy – Bioenergy is the production of energy from biomass materials such as the by-products of agricultural, food and forestry industries, as well as domestic and industrial waste management systems. Examples include: anaerobic digestion, fermentation, liquefaction, pyrolysis, gasification, plasma techno, torrefaction, direct combustion (incineration), indirect combustion, hydrothermal carbonisation.
    • bioenergy fuels – This refers to liquid fuel derived directly from biomass, for example, biodiesel (a diesel substitute) and bioethanol.
    • litter and illegal dumping
    • waste disposal (for example, incineration, landfill, sewer)
  • products or materials not currently wasted
  • product stewardship schemes
  • council-focused initiatives
  • community-focused initiatives
  • individual Business initiatives
  • water, energy, GHG emissions (although these may be co-benefits to a material-focused project).

These projects will also not be funded:

  • Projects that have received funding or support for the same activities from other sources
  • Projects that make requests for retrospective funding, where the activities that you are seeking funding for have commenced or are completed prior to signing a funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria
  • Projects that are being undertaken to comply with regulation or a regulatory notice or order
  • Projects that do not meet regulatory or planning requirements.

The following project costs are ineligible for funding:

  • Lease or purchase of land
  • Permit, licensing and approval costs
  • Routine or cyclical maintenance works
  • Repair of facilities damaged by vandalism, fire or other natural disasters where damage should be covered by insurance
  • Operating or business-as-usual costs (such as electricity, water and other utilities)
  • Existing staff costs (such as salaries) that are not demonstrated to be directly related to the project
  • Marketing, advertising, promotional costs
  • Purchase of vehicles (such as front-end loaders, forklifts)
  • Pre-construction (site preparation) such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works
  • Travel and attendance at conferences
  • Contingency costs.

3. Assessment process

3.1 Assessment criteria

The assessment panel will assess the application based on merit according to the criteria below.


Weighting: 60%

Describe what you are going to do and what outcomes it will create, including demonstrating:

  • the problem that your project is addressing, including an indication of the scale of the problem and who is impacted
  • how your project provides a solution – for example: type, amount and source of waste that your project will directly avoid or has the potential to avoid; evidence for your calculation
  • the outcomes your project will deliver on
  • how your project is new and innovative to Victoria
  • the type of Innovation targeted.


Weighting: 20%

Demonstrate that the Lead Applicant and Collaborative Partner(s) have the ability to deliver the project in terms of capability (skills) and capacity (resources), including:

  • the Lead Applicant ’s experience in leading a Collaborative project
  • their roles, responsibilities and relationship in the project
  • the amount of cash or In-kind Contribution that has been committed to the project.


Weighting: 20%

Demonstrate how the project is feasible and commercial, including identifying:

  • the key stages, activities and deliverables to complete it
  • anticipated risks and management strategies for mitigation
  • total project cost and expenditure items.

3.2 Diversity consideration

Sustainability Victoria may overlay rankings to achieve an overall mix of projects that represent:

  • a geographical spread across Victorian regions
  • a variety of:
    • types of Innovation
    • project outcomes
    • project types
  • inclusion of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Businesses that are at least 50% Indigenous owned and managed and the owner or manager:
    • is of Aboriginal or Torres Islander descent or both
    • identifies as an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander, or both
    • is recognised as such by their community.

3.3 Due diligence checks

A risk-based approach will be used to assess the Lead Applicant’s social, economic and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment will include the Applicant’s Related Entities and may include Collaborative Partners. (see Section 9: Program definitions).

Lead Applicants (and their Related Entities and, if applicable, their Collaborative Partners) must:

  • have had no Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breaches in the last five years or, if there was a breach, SV may assess that the Applicant’s breach poses a satisfactory level of risk;
  • have not been the subject of an enforceable undertaking or successful litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman for a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 or a fair work instrument within the last five years;
  • demonstrate financial capability to undertake the project;
  • have adequate insurance as outlined in the funding agreement and below:
    • Public liability, $10M minimum
    • Professional indemnity, $5M minimum
    • WorkCover
  • have not failed to satisfactorily progress or complete previous projects funded by Sustainability Victoria within funding program timelines and without sufficient reason; and
  • manage any conflicts of interest adequately.

Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to Sustainability Victoria’s consideration of:

  • the seriousness of any finding/s;
  • whether the finding/s has been resolved to the satisfaction of the relevant enforcement agency, or the Lead Applicant can demonstrate it is working effectively to resolve the finding;
  • the efforts made by the Lead Applicant including implementation of management systems, to ensure no further finding/s occur; and
  • whether, since the finding, the Lead Applicant has had a satisfactory level of compliance with relevant Environmental and Safety Laws and Workplace Laws.

Sustainability Victoria may conduct due diligence checks on the Collaborative Partners involved in the delivery of the project. The Lead Applicant must ensure that any Collaborative Partners agree to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at SV’s request.

Sustainability Victoria reserves the right not to award funding to Lead Applicants where the due diligence risk (including that of Collaborative Partners) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.

4. Funding conditions

Successful applicants approved for funding must do the following.

4.1 Before starting the project

  • Participate in an inception meeting to discuss project and funding agreement.
  • Agree to realistic evidence-based and performance-based milestone payments.
  • Provide Sustainability Victoria with insurance certificates of currency.
  • Sign Sustainability Victoria’s General Funding Agreement.

4.2 During and after the project

  • Deliver the project as outlined in the application and comply with the funding agreement.
  • Attend progress update meetings and provide a written update in advance of these meetings. Sustainability Victoria will hold at least one meeting every 2 months.
  • Provide evidence of funding expenditure and performance at agreed milestones.
  • Notify Sustainability Victoria immediately about any delay or change to the project.
  • Provide adequate monitoring and evaluation of the project.
  • Collect and provide baseline and ongoing project outcome and evaluation data to Sustainability Victoria.
  • Provide a publishable version of project outputs where agreed. These lessons learned will be shared with the Victorian community.
  • Contribute to the project’s promotional activities (for example, provide Sustainability Victoria with support by reviewing and approving written stories or videos).
  • Participate in and contribute to Sustainability Victoria activities to distribute the findings to broader stakeholders (for example, government and industry).
  • Acknowledge that Sustainability Victoria has contributed funding in all communications related to the project.

5. Timeline

Dates may change.

We will provide applicants with updates as much as possible and when necessary.

Applications open: Wednesday 6 October 2021

Information session:
Thursday 21 October 2021

Applications close:
Monday 15 November 2021

Announcement of outcomes:
March 2022

Funding agreements established and projects commenced:
Within 3 months of announcement of successful projects. The start date can be discussed at the point of establishing funding agreements.

Project completed by:
October 2023

6. How to apply

Before applying, we recommend you attend an information session.

The grant program involves a competitive, merit-based application process.

  1. Ensure that your organisation can apply.
  2. Ensure that your project is qualified.
  3. Read Sustainability Victoria’s General grant funding agreement. You must agree to and meet all the terms and conditions to ensure funding.
  4. Read Sustainability Victoria’s Terms of participation in grant programs.
  5. Create an account and start your application on the SmartyGrants website.
  6. Submit your application by 11:59 pm, Monday 15 November 2021. Late applications will not be accepted except under exceptional circumstances.

Your application

  • Allow adequate time to plan, research, gather supporting documentation and draft your application.
  • As this is a competitive grant, we cannot review drafts or provide feedback.
  • You must use SmartyGrants, unless you have written permission from Sustainability Victoria.

Tips for using SmartyGrants

  • Click ‘Save progress’ every 10 to 15 minutes. This prevents your data from being lost if something happens when you’re filling in the form. You will be automatically logged out of the system after 60 minutes of inactivity (where you did not click ‘Save progress’ or navigate between pages). Once logged out, you will close any changes that were not saved.
  • Wait for your file to be uploaded. Wait for your document to be successfully attached before going to another page. If not, the file upload will be cancelled. The maximum size per file is 25MB.
  • Once you’ve submitted your application, you cannot make any changes. Check your application carefully.
  • You will receive a confirmation email. When your application has been submitted successfully, you will get an automatic receipt from SmartyGrants.
  • For any technical issues, please contact SmartyGrants on (03) 9320 6888 during business hours.

7. Assistance available

7.1 Information sessions

There will be an online information session. A recording will be available after the session.

7.2 Contact us

We cannot review drafts or provide feedback.

Phone: +61 3 8656 6757 Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.


In the subject line, use the grant name: RV Innovation Fund.

8. Why the Victorian Government is providing this funding

This fund is part of the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria policy whose targets include reducing total waste generation by 15% per capita by 2030.

Action 1.1 of the policy is to deliver the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC), which fosters business innovation and collaboration across supply chains to reduce waste, increase reuse and generate new streams of revenue for businesses. This fund is part of CEBIC’s programs.

CEBIC is focused on one of the policy's goals: design to last, repair and recycle. It seeks to generate less waste in businesses through innovation and design. Hence, this fund supports projects that design out waste from the make and use phases of Victoria’s resource flows. As CEBIC is focusing its efforts on priority waste areas, this fund focuses on preventing textile waste.

One of CEBIC’s core functions is to share research, market intelligence and best-practice insights. The requirement to provide a publishable version of all written project outputs for sharing publicly is intended to enable the outcomes of the funded projects to be disseminated through CEBIC.

Collaboration has been recognised as a fundamental part of the transition to a more circular economy. This was a common theme during consultation undertaken during the development of CEBIC. This fund has been designed to support collaboration. Other funding programs enable individual organisations to apply for funding.

9. Definitions

A commercial enterprise seeking to generate profit through its activities, including Social Enterprises.

Circular economy
The Recycling Victoria policy describes a circular economy as:

“A circular economy continually seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption, while enabling economic growth through more productive use of natural resources.

It allows us to avoid waste with good design and effective recovery of materials that can be reused.

It promotes more efficient business models that encourage intense and efficient product use, such as sharing products between multiple users, or supplying a product as a service that includes maintenance, repair and disposal.

The value people obtain from the resources used to create goods and services increases.

It transforms our linear economy mindset—take, use and throw away—and fosters Innovation and productivity that invigorates existing businesses and creates new ones, delivering more jobs and more growth for local, regional, state and global economies.”

A Charity is an organisation that is not-for-profit and has only charitable purposes that are for the public benefit.

A Charity must not be an individual, political party or government entity, and must be registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.

Circular products and services
Those that align with the principles of a circular economy:

  • design out waste and pollution
  • keep products and material in use at the highest value and
  • regenerate natural systems.

The required cash or In-kind Contribution to the total project income, made by the Lead Applicant and the Collaborative Partner(s).

Collaborative Partner/s
An organisation/s in a Collaborative Partnership with a Lead Applicant that has a critical role in the project and a formal commitment to delivering the support required to ensure the project’s success.

Collaborative Partnership
A relationship established between a Lead Applicant and Collaborative Partner/s for the purposes of meeting common project objectives and outcomes. Collaborative Partnerships need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between the partners that outlines the governance, financial and intellectual property arrangements and roles and responsibilities of each party. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

Direct Jobs
Actual new full-time positions created by your project. This can include training or upskilling of employees who would otherwise be made redundant through the implementation of your project.

Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breach
An environmental or safety breach is any past or current prosecution, reportable incident, investigation, notice, penalty, warning, regulatory intervention or enforcement action from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe) or Fair Work or failure to comply with any environmental, safety and Workplace Laws.

Environmental and Safety Laws

Environmental and safety laws are the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, Environment Protection Act 2017 or any other legislation, regulation, order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the protection and safety of persons or property or which regulate the environment including laws relating to land use planning, pollution of air or water, soil or groundwater contamination, chemicals, waste, the use, handling, storage or transport of dangerous goods or substances, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon trading, or any other aspect of protection of the environment.

Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE)
The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.

Calculating FTE
The calculation is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by Full-Time Employees. For example, you have three employees working the following – 40, 40 and 20 hours per week, giving you 100 hours per week in total.

Assuming full-time hours are 40 hours per week, your full-time equivalent calculation is 100 hours divided by 40 hours which equals 2.5 FTE.

Industry Groups and Associations
An industry peak body, representative industry association or group, or an industry-owned Rural Research and Development Corporation (industry-owned companies).

In-kind Contribution
An In-kind Contribution is a contribution of a good or a service other than cash.

In-kind Contributions should include the cost for activities that are directly related to delivering your project. Examples include:

  • staff time to manage project implementation (project management and installation costs that utilise existing internal resources);
  • time spent on project activities by volunteers; and
  • donated goods or services related to the project.

The following activities cannot be considered as In-kind Contributions:

  • operating expenses that are not directly associated with delivering the project; and
  • opportunity costs such as staff ‘downtime’ during the installation of equipment or implementation of activities.

Applicants must fairly justify how they determined the dollar value for In-kind Contributions.

An Innovation is something new, different, or better, that creates value. It may be the first of its kind, inspired by others’ solutions, or copied. For this grant program, it must not have been done before in Victoria.

Lead Applicant
The listed applicant for the purposes of a Collaborative Partnership. The Lead Applicant will be responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding. The Lead Applicant is also responsible for managing the project outcomes and deliverables of the Collaborative Partnership.

Other Not-for-profit Organisation
An organisation that provides services to the community and does not seek to generate profit through its activities (either direct or indirect). For the purposes of this grant program, the definition of Other Not-for-profit Organisation does not include a Charity or an Industry Group.

Related Entities
Entities which are related to the Lead Applicant, including:

  • holding companies of the Applicant
  • subsidiaries of the Applicant
  • subsidiaries of holding companies of the Applicant
  • companies with common directors or shareholders as the Applicant
  • companies that are a beneficiary under a trust of which the Applicant is a trustee
  • trustees of a trust under which the Applicant is a beneficiary
  • companies that conduct business at the same address as the Applicant, or the same address as the location of the activity for which the funding is sought.

Research Institution
A Research Institution can be a tertiary education institution, a government agency established for the purpose of research, a Cooperative Research Centre, an Institute or Centre for Research or a privately owned and accredited research facility. Consultancies are not considered to be Research Institutions for the purpose of this grants program.

Social Enterprise
A Social Enterprise is a business that trades to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.

Social Enterprises:

  • are driven by a public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic
  • derive most of their income from trade, not donations or grants
  • use the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission.

A Social Enterprise is considered an Individual Business for the purposes of this grants program.

Related Person/s
Related Person means a director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the Applicant or a Related Entity.

Workplace Laws
Workplace Laws are the Fair Work Act 2009, or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the provision of fair, relevant and enforceable minimum terms and conditions for all persons and to prevent discrimination against employees.

Contact us

We cannot review drafts or provide feedback.

When emailing
In the subject line, use the grant name: RV Innovation Fund.