News | 1 February 2016

Funding open for smart initiatives to reduce waste in the capital

Innovative Wellingtonians can now apply for funding to get their waste reduction initiatives off the ground, with applications for the latest round of the Waste Minimisation Seed Fund opening today.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the forecasted trend nationally is a 2% decrease per annum if Councils work together and continue to pursue waste minimisation, and central government supports waste minimising legislation. “Saving money, reducing emissions, and recovering resources are all good reasons to reduce waste. Councils within the Wellington region are committed to achieving zero waste,” she says.

"While our waste team do an amazing job in dealing with rubbish and other waste, we could all do so much more for the environment if we collaborate and support innovative thinking in rubbish reduction.

“We are an innovative city and look forward to seeing the ideas generated through support from the fund,” she says.  

The Waste Minimisation Seed Fund was set up in November 2015 for projects that target the reduction of organic, commercial and industrial waste, and influence community action and behaviour change. 

Councillor Iona Pannett, chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, says one of the key solutions is right under our noses: “Stopping waste before it’s even made would be a good start.”

“This kind of thinking will not only dramatically reduce the rubbish piling up in our landfills, but also makes perfect business sense from a fiscal point of view.”

The $70,000 per annum fund is split into two pools: funding for projects less than $2000 and another for larger projects over $2000, with a $25,000 cap. 

Councillor Pannett says this round of funding is for small projects less than $2000, but that shouldn’t inhibit the imagination, ideas and variety of projects that could be funded.  

“We think people can come up with some great ideas like building worm farms, developing a plan for composting, or creating an interesting project using recycled objects. This pool is a great opportunity for schools, community and sports groups to get involved and apply.”

Last round recipient, The Formary, works with businesses and organisations worldwide, transforming fibre waste into valuable, marketable products. Creative Director Bernadette Casey recommends other solution providers also apply for the fund.

“The Council Waste Minimisation funding covers the initial phase of our New Zealand Textile Reuse Programme.  Led by New Zealand Post the aim of this programme is to design a scalable solution for New Zealand corporate end-of-life uniforms. 

“There are multiple benefits from such a programme.  Extracting the greatest value from garments, reducing reliance on virgin materials while also creating shared value for both community and business,” she says.

The fund is provided for using the Council’s Waste Levy, which is administered through the Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.

Applications will be considered at the end of each month for this round, so projects will need to allow for a week of assessment following the month the submission was made.

Find out more about the Waste Minimisation Seed Fund or apply on our funding page at