Notice Type
Notice Title

Criteria for the Plastics Innovation Fund

Pursuant to section 38 of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, I, the Honourable David Parker, Minister for the Environment, set the following criteria for approving funding of a project under the Plastics Innovation Fund.

I have obtained and considered the advice of the Waste Advisory Board prior to setting these criteria.

Purpose of the Fund

The purpose of the Plastics Innovation Fund is to support projects that reimagine how we make, use and dispose of plastics.


The primary objective is to promote or achieve plastics waste minimisation, as required under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, in order to protect the environment from harm.

The secondary objectives are:

  • A just transition to a low emissions, low waste circular economy to retain Aotearoa New Zealand’s clean, green international reputation.
  • Job creation and the transformation of our industries including: the manufacturing and primary industries and the waste and resource recovery sector.
  • Provide environmental, social, economic, and cultural benefits.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The applicant must be a legal entity.
  2. To be eligible, projects must promote or achieve plastic waste minimisation and be aligned to the plastic priorities and fund outcomes in effect for that round. Plastic waste harms our ecosystem and climate and the majority of funding allocated will be to projects that seek to eliminate, reduce, manage, or mitigate the impact of plastic waste.
  3. Projects must be within the scope of the fund and include those that:
    • aim to reimagine how we make, use, recycle or dispose of plastics, to provide more sustainable alternative options1
    • may involve innovation across the plastics lifecycle: rethink/redesign, reduce, reuse/repurpose, recycle, recover, treat and dispose
    • may innovate across a range of approaches, including mātauranga Māori, engineering, economics, the social and biophysical sciences
    • may involve international collaboration to find or adopt international solutions to reduce harm to our environment from plastics.
  4. Projects must promote or achieve new activity on the part of the applicant, or involve a significant expansion in the scope or coverage of existing activities.
  5. Projects that adopt, scale up or increase in uptake of existing technologies and innovation, developed in New Zealand or overseas, are also eligible.
  6. Funding is not for the running costs of the existing business as usual activities of organisations, individuals, councils or firms.
  7. Funding can be for operational or capital expenditure over multiple years, up to a limit of four years.
  8. For projects where other Government funds are available (such as research funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Ministry of Primary Industries), applicants should seek early advice from the Ministry for the Environment, to ensure that the application fits with the fund.
  9. In general, the fund will not cover the entire cost of the project. Applicants should seek part-funding from other sources and, if obtained, must have commitments in place for this funding at the time of application.
  10. The minimum grant for feasibility or scoping studies will be $20,000. The minimum grant for all other projects will be $50,000.

Assessment Criteria

Project Benefits

  1. Preference will be given to projects that are directed towards promoting or achieving both the primary and secondary objectives of the fund.
  2. In general, projects that reduce some environmental harm but are likely to increase climate change emissions will not be supported.
  3. In considering whether a project meets the objectives, preference will be given to projects that collectively give the largest net benefit over time. Assessment of a project’s effectiveness will include the extent to which the project can demonstrate:
    • potential to minimise waste (e.g., rethink/redesign, reduce, reuse/repurpose, recycle, recover, treat and dispose)
    • potential to reduce environmental harm, including climate impacts
    • the potential to add to our knowledge base (including wider New Zealand’s access to the underlying data and results of the project)
    • the potential to act as a catalyst for innovative system change
    • the potential for collaboration across sectors
    • economic, environmental, social, or cultural benefits
    • longer term benefits after the completion of the project (how will this project move New Zealand toward a low-waste circular economy)
    • likelihood of success.
  4. Projects will be assessed for their strategic value in achieving the fund’s objectives. For the secondary objectives (i.e., jobs, industry transformation and/or clean-green reputation), the relevant Industry Transformation Plans (ITP) and advice provided by the lead agency for the ITP will be taken into account.
  5. The degree of partnership, collaboration and public benefit will be taken into account in assessing the strategic value of proposals.

Project Delivery Assessment Criteria

  1. The applicant must demonstrate:
    • clear understanding of the problem their project aims to solve
    • clear project governance, as well as the ability and expertise to deliver the project, (or, as part of the project scope, resources are allocated to enable delivery)
    • how the project will achieve its goals including an aligned project budget
    • how the project effectiveness will be monitored, evaluated and reported
    • if and how the project will benefit the wider public
    • if and how the project’s identified outputs will continue after funding ends.

This notice takes effect the day after the date of publication in the New Zealand Gazette.

Dated this 1st day of October 2021.

Hon DAVID PARKER, Minister for the Environment.

1 Including supporting transitions away from hard-to-recycle and single-use plastics to be phased-out.