Login/Register ZWS
Main content

Recycling Improvement Fund

Applications are open for the Scottish Government’s five-year £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund (RIF). 

Scottish local authorities are encouraged to apply for funding of projects aimed at driving new innovations and improvements to recycling in their area and across the country. Local authorities are encouraged to develop partnership approaches to implementing RIF-funded projects to maximise the impact of the project and create additional related benefits.

Proposals contained within application submissions must be consistent with the overarching aim of the fund, which is to “accelerate progress towards 2025 waste and recycling targets and Scotland’s net-zero carbon commitment, by strengthening and improving local authority recycling infrastructure, resulting in increased consistency of collection, improvements to the quality and quantity of material collected, and wider environmental and carbon benefits”. 

Applying to the RIF is now a single stage process, with a revised single application form and accompanying completion guidance document to be made available in March 2022 to local authority applicants through their appointed Recycling Partner.  

Administration of the Fund

Zero Waste Scotland is responsible for the management and administration of the fund, and all future applications should be developed with support from an appointed Zero Waste Scotland Recycling Partner.

The total grant allocation will be budgeted annually, subject to regular review, with the current allocation noted below:  

To date, 16 awards totalling more than £20 million have been made to 13 local authorities for projects including service changes to increase kerbside and communal recycling provision, in-cab technologies, and increased capacity to sort and recycle plastic films. View a full list of all funded projects to date.

Application Development Support

Zero Waste Scotland will provide advice and guidance on the types of projects which best align with the RIF criteria and objectives.

Local authorities intending to put forward an application for funding should arrange an early-stage discussion with a Zero Waste Scotland Recycling Partner to confirm whether their proposed project fits within the scope of the fund, meets the fund’s overarching aim, and is suitably aligned to the assessment criteria.

The Zero Waste Scotland Communications Team may be available to support applicants depending upon the nature of their application. They can be contacted at support@recycleforscotland.com.

Application Submission

Completed applications should be submitted to Zero Waste Scotland via the following email address: recyclingsupport@zerowastescotland.org.uk .

To be considered at a particular board meeting, applicants should submit their applications, including all supporting evidence, no later than five weeks before the RIF Board meeting.  This will ensure there is sufficient time for clarifications to be discussed and final amendments made to the application prior to being assessed by a Zero Waste Scotland panel. 

The dates of future board meetings and corresponding submission deadlines are listed below:

Date of Board Meeting Submission Deadline 
 1 June 2022  27 April 2022
28 September 2022 24 August 2022
14 December 2022 9 November 2022
23 February 2023  19 January 2023
31 May 2023  26 April 2023
27 September 2023  23 August 2023
13 December 2023 8 November 2023


Application Assessment

Step 1

Applications will undergo a pre-assessment check upon receipt. All in-scope applications which have been completed in full and are therefore fit for assessment will be referred to a Zero Waste Scotland panel. If additional information is required, it will be requested at this stage.

Step 2

Applications will be assessed by the panel against the following criteria:

  • Evidence-led;
  • Impact and Transformation;
  • Strategic and Collaborative;
  • Feasibility;
  • Acceptability;
  • Additionality;

Step 3

Applications assessed by the panel are summarised and presented to the RIF Board with a recommendation on whether or not to fund. The RIF Board consists of representation from COSLA, SOLACE, SEPA, Zero Waste Scotland, and the Scottish Government. This board considers the applications and makes a funding recommendation to the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.

Step 4

The Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity makes the final decision regarding project funding, based on the recommendation from the board. We aim to communicate all funding decisions back to local authorities within three weeks of the board meeting at which the application was discussed. Zero Waste Scotland will confirm the outcome of all submissions to applicants in writing.




Close Search

Search form