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.
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
Collaborations 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 2022 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.
- Preliminary Application opens – June 6, 2022
- Preliminary Application deadline — 11:59 p.m. July 4, 2022
- Notification to Applicants — July 2022
- Detailed Application deadline — 11:59 p.m., September 4, 2022
- Notification to Successful Applicants — October 2022
- Projects begin – January 2023
* Dates 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
- Makersspace (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 2021 Circular Economy Initiatives Fund recipients
The 2021 CEIF recipients and projects are:
- 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