Photo of recycling on a conveyor belt in a materials recycling facility

Recycling Improvement Fund - Small Grant Scheme

01 Dec 23 2 minute read

The introduction of a Recycling Improvement Fund – Small Grant Scheme (RIF – SGS) will enable a range of local authorities to carry out smaller projects. This helps to make maximum use of the whole fund available each year.  

The process is a streamlined version of the full RIF application, appropriate to the lower value of funding available per project. The RIF - SGS aims to strengthen local authority collection systems, supporting infrastructure and partnerships, to help meet both national targets and future demands.  

The RIF – SGS can provide grants of up to £150,000 for projects that can be fully delivered within the financial year the award was confirmed.  

The RIF – SGS is closed for 2023. We will be in touch with local authorities regarding availability of any future funding.   

Application criteria

The same criteria applied to RIF-SGS as to the larger RIF awards however it is scored on a pass or fail basis. The criteria: 

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

Applications should also support and progress the following objectives:  

  1. Develop specific, small-scale infrastructure projects which will improve the recycling and reuse services provided by local authorities. 
  2. Support initiatives that tackle our throwaway culture and encourage a circular economy; providing the enhanced opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle - as vital to our green recovery and tackling Scotland’s contribution to climate change.   
  3. Support local authorities with aligning collections to the revised Code of Practice (once complete) under the Household Recycling Charter, funding service design changes that maximise yield and produce high-quality materials for markets.  
  4. Promote the collection of problematic materials, in addition to identified high carbon impact materials, including garden waste, food waste, plastics, and textiles etc.  
  5. Support projects which generate further progress, either in terms of replicating best practice or innovation, within existing systems.

Applicants should note that no single project is expected to meet all the objectives however, significant alignment with these assists in assessing the suitability of any project for funding. 

Application development support

The RIF-SGS is currently not open to applications in 2023. 

Local authorities interested in developing an application can discuss their ideas for future development with their Recycling Partner. Partners will provide detailed advice on the scope of the fund, the types of projects, the application process, and will also give one-to-one support to assist with the development of an in-scope application.  

Application assessment

Representatives from Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and CoSLA meet for the RIF- SGS Sub-group who will make recommendations to the RIF Board and the Scottish Government’s Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, who will be responsible for making the final decision regarding funding. 

Zero Waste Scotland will provide an outcome of the application within eight weeks of the submission.

Funding awarded under the Small Grant Scheme

Local authorityProjectFunding awarded
AberdeenshireExpansion of reuse at five Household Recycling Centres£37,095
Dumfries and Galloway Introduction of a kerbside battery collection for householders £70,759
East Ayrshire Improvement to recycling and food waste infrastructure at flatted properties £139,843
Edinburgh Introduction of Expanded Polystyrene recycling at Household Recycling Centres £19,000
Fife Introduction of food waste recycling at high-rise and mid-rise communal properties £30,675
Falkirk Improvement to recycling and food waste infrastructure at flatted properties £149,207
Orkney IslandsIntroduction of mattress reuse scheme in partnership with Employability Orkney£4,876
South LanarkshireExpansion of recycling service to a further 750 communal properties£150,000