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Building a path to a sustainable future

Reducing organic, construction and demolition waste is the focus of the 2021 funding round for the Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF), which opened last week.

The WMF has invested over $120 million across more than 250 projects since 2010.

This investment has helped unlock a similar level of industry co-funding, meaning an estimated quarter of a billion dollars has been invested into initiatives that minimise waste.

“The WMF is one of the Government’s most effective tools to boost New Zealand’s performance in waste minimisation,” said Sam Buckle, deputy secretary resource efficiency and water and land use policy.

“With up to $13 million available for co-funding grants, we are looking for projects focusing on two areas — reducing construction and demolition waste, and organic waste. By encouraging investment in these two areas, we also contribute to reducing our carbon emissions.”

The projects should be over a maximum of three years and be for a new initiative or a significant expansion of existing activities, not ongoing financial support or running costs.

“The WMF is heavily over-subscribed and very competitive. To increase the quality of applications and to give interested parties the best chance of success, our team introduced new interactive tools to help the interested parties give their application the best chance of success,” Mr Buckle said.

The WMF’s new tools are three webinars and multiple one-to-one video conferences with WMF’s staff.

“In line with our strategic priority reflecting the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in all programmes, we are making funding rounds more accessible for iwi. We are pleased to see many iwi and Maori organisations register for one-on-ones,” he said.

The WMF is rooted in the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and is funded by a portion of the waste disposal levy.

It provides funding for projects that increase reuse, recovery or recycling, or decrease waste to landfill, one-off use, or litter.

The goal is to move away from the linear “take, make, dispose of” approach to a circular one focusing on “make, use, return” principles.

More information about the WMF, including investment signals, eligibility criteria and projects types, can be found on the Ministry for the Environment’s website tinyurl.com/a5ewmvvr

The three-week expression of interest period closes on Friday, May 21, 2021.

NEW APPROACH: Construction and demolition waste is one of the key focuses of this year’s Waste Minimisation Fund. File picture