NSW civil construction market program grants announced in effort to reduce waste

In brief - The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has introduced a major recycling incentive for the construction industry in their efforts to reduce waste

$2.5 million is available for eligible organisations that can divert construction and demolition waste from landfills in the NSW civil construction sector.

The EPA is pressing ahead with its Civil Construction Market Program Grants that opened on 24 January 2018. Individual grants up to $150,000 will be available for eligible organisations including:
  • businesses
  • non for profit organisations
  • councils
  • industry bodies
  • product stewardship groups
This is the first opportunity for organisations in the civil construction industry to obtain a benefit from the Business Recycling Grants offered by the EPA. At this stage there is no indication as to whether there will be a second round of grants.

The availability of the grants appears to stem from the real need to divert waste from landfills and promote recycling and reuse of materials where possible. However, it is not surprising that to qualify, the recycling and reuse of material must be lawful and take place within NSW. 

The target materials of Round 1 include crushed materials, recovered aggregates, clay, soil, sand and rock as well as fly ash, slurry and slags. Understanding how the resource recovery orders and exemptions created by the EPA under Part 9 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 (NSW) can be utilised will in our view be critical in being able to demonstrate that the activities are worthy of a grant.

Examples of eligible activities provided by the EPA include:
  • recycling spoil material into roadbase
  • using glass fines in roads or pathways
  • recovering bricks
Construction organisations with links to a licenced resource recovery facility are in a prime position to be awarded the grant. However, the grant may also be used to assist organisations with high start-up costs, as well as the large costs for dealing with waste. In addition, the grant is likely to promote innovative ways to recycle and reuse waste, and at the same time, compliance with the law.

Round 1 of the grants opened on 24 January 2018.