Circular Economy Initiatives Fund
York Region’s Circular Economy Initiatives Fund offers $5,000 to $25,000 funding to non-profit organizations for community-driven, innovative projects that reduce residential waste and advance a circular economy within York Region.
Consideration will be given to projects that meet one or both of the following objectives:
- Reduce Waste/Environmental Footprint: Deliver projects that result in a reduction of residential waste generated (based on weight) or an increase in reuse of residential waste, diverting it from landfill
- Enhance Education and Awareness: Develop and deliver education and awareness projects that lead to behaviour change and/or increased knowledge of the value of waste
What is a Circular Economy?
A circular economy eliminates waste and pollution and conserves resources. It is a shift from a throw-away to a circular mindset to extend the lifecycle of goods, food and resources through better design and continuous reuse, so nothing goes to waste.
Funding is open to registered charitable organizations and non-profit organizations, i.e., community/environmental organizations, resident/tenant/neighbourhood associations, business improvement areas/chambers of commerce, local Environmental Advisory Committees, academic institutions and school boards. Applicants do not have to be based in York Region, but the project must benefit York Region communities.
Previous applicants and recipients are allowed to submit a new application for funding each round.
The following organizations are not eligible for funding:
- For-profit organizations (businesses should consider applying to the Region’s Innovation Fund)
- Organizations acting in the capacity of a funding body, fundraising drives or events
- Organizations that have political affiliations
- Building managers and property owners
- Individual residents
- Grant making organizations
- Government or government-based organizations
Collaboration between organizations is encouraged. At least one partner must meet the eligibility criteria stated above.
Priority will be given to projects that meet all or most of the following:
- Are community-driven and foster community partnerships
- Clearly articulate how impacts of activities proposed will be measured
- Demonstrate innovation (unique, new) in terms of project design, delivery, solution proposed
- Does not duplicate a program already delivered in the specific community by another organization, municipality or York Region
- Leverage funding from other sources, and outline project sustainability
- Include a communication plan to engage the community
- Emphasize access, equity, diversity and engage all ages, abilities, economic levels and cultures
- Can be completed within the project timelines, show a clear work plan, with activities, tasks and outcomes
How to Apply
Preliminary applications for 2023 are now closed.
The application process includes two stages: the preliminary application and the detailed application.
To ensure your preliminary application is completed correctly, review the Application Guidelines document. This will provide you with details of the two-stage application process, what we will fund, eligibility and deadlines.
If you have any questions about the application or the application process please email us at [email protected].
- Preliminary Application opens – May 1, 2023
- Preliminary Application deadline — 11:59 p.m. May 29, 2023
- Notification to Applicants — June 2023
- Detailed Application deadline — 11:59 p.m., August 7, 2023
- Notification to Successful Applicants — September 2023
- Projects begin – January 2024
* Dates are subject to change.
Eligible Projects and Funding Streams
The following streams have been developed based on program objectives with examples of eligible projects as a guide for applicants:
Reduce Waste: This stream focuses on delivery of community-based circular economy projects that directly result in reduced waste (environmental) footprint and align with the top 2 Rs (Reduce and Reuse) of the SM4RT Living Plan.
Reduce: Projects that focus on reducing residential waste, including:
- Food waste reduction project
- Development of technology that assists with waste reduction
- Pilot compost programs in multi-residential buildings and other York Region locations
- Innovative approaches to reduce home renovation waste
Reuse: Projects that support SM4RT Living lifestyle and establish community partnerships to promote donation, swapping or selling reusable goods including:
- Community sharing or swap events
- Lending libraries
- Makerspace (shared repair space) or repair/sewing hub
- Projects that use locally sourced waste materials to create new items
Enhance Education and Awareness: This stream focuses on delivery of education and awareness projects for residential communities to foster behavioural changes and increase understanding of the value of waste, providing resources, best practices and solutions on “how-to” reduce, reuse and/or re-purpose waste.
- Delivery of workshops to educate residents about the circular economy, waste reduction, etc.
- Skills and knowledge enhancement activities such as how to repair or upcycle goods, repurpose surplus food
- Development of resources, best practices guide and solutions on “how-to” reduce, reuse and/or re-purpose waste (including food waste)
- Applying behavioural change strategies that result in waste reduction/diversion
View 2022 Circular Economy Initiatives Fund recipients
The following 2022 recipient projects will take place in 2023:
- Clean Air Partnership - Recycle to Ride: giving landfill bikes new life
This project takes unwanted broken bikes donated at York Region’s McCleary Court Community Environmental Centre and repairs and donates them back to the community. A series of bike rescue clinics will show participants how to fix and maintain these bikes and give them a second life.
- Fashion Takes Action - Fashion Impacts Challenge: ReWEAR in York Region
An education project where students will learn about textile waste and be encouraged to host activities like clothing swaps that will help keep textiles out of landfills.
- Free Geek Toronto - Technology Reuse Training Program
A series of technology donation events and reuse and repair workshops that will raise awareness of the environmental impacts of electronic waste and improve participants’ knowledge and skills around caring for their devices.
- A Greener Future - Home Waste Audit
Six-week home waste audits and online education sessions will be launched to help participants reduce their household waste, increase awareness about the waste streams available in their municipality and which waste bins to use, and how to decrease their waste footprint.
- Regenesis - Youth-focused Reuse Centres
A youth-focused project to reduce waste and promote an environmental lifestyle among young people and post-secondary students (ages 13-30) through reuse initiatives including an item library, a “free” store and repair café events.
- Composting Council of Canada - From Organic Waste to Healthy Soils: Mobilizing Community Action
This initiative aims to increase the quantity and quality of organics recycling and awareness of its value through interactive virtual and in-person learning events.
- Main Street International - York Region Cleanup Week
An entire week featuring film screenings and educational seminars to educate residents about the impact of waste and connect residents with community litter cleanup events.
View 2021 Circular Economy Initiatives Fund recipients
The 2021 CEIF recipients and projects were:
- Circular Innovation Council - Share, Reuse, and Repair Hub: a community-based virtual hub to educate and engage residents on advancing the local circular economy through share, reuse, and repair
- Free Geek Toronto - The Reuse Project, Technology Edition: a series of electronic waste collection and repair events to encourage reuse and repair over recycling of unwanted technology
- Furniture Bank – Furniture & Home Goods Reuse Education and Awareness Campaign: a campaign that increases awareness of furniture removal services for residents that will help divert household items from landfill and repurpose them to be given to local families in need
- Impact Zero – Circular Business Directory: a searchable, detailed directory for circular businesses in York Region
- Whitchurch-Stouffville Strawberry Festival – Greening the Strawberry Festival 2022: a project that aims to reduce waste, particularly food waste and single-use plastic waste, at the 2022 Strawberry Festival
- Willowgrove – Take Root Farm Project: an educational program offering two series of workshops teaching children how to use upcycled items to construct their own compost and greenhouse systems for use at home