Reduced consumption of plastics and plastics circularity

About this call for applications

The call targets measures that reduce the amount of plastic waste and contribute to increased recycling in Norway. It is also possible to apply for funding for projects outside Norway, but a clear physical connection (material flow) or transfer value to the Norwegian plastic system is required.

All types of businesses can apply. It is favourable if the problem owner (responsible for the product or service) is the applicant, and that important knowledge providers and actors in the value chain participate as project partners.

Important information about this call for applications

  • Funding available: ca. NOK 60 million

  • Project duration: Up to 2 years

  • Requirements for other financing*:
    At least 50% of the total project budget. To be detailed in the application.

  • Two-step application process

  • Two application rounds in 2024. The next deadline will be this autumn.

March 1st:

Launch of the call for projects and application form

March 22nd

16:00 (CET): Deadline for prequalification applications

April 15th:

Successful applicants are invited to write a full application

May 14th

16:00 (CEST): Deadline full application

By 20th of June

All applicants receive a response (grant/rejection)


In this years’ call for applications, projects in the following industries are prioritised

  • packaging

  • textiles

  • aquaculture and fisheries

    • closed pens and land-based solutions

    • solutions that can document positive environmental impact beyond the direct environmental impact resulting from the project

    • construction

Projects in other industries can apply if the project is eligible high environmental impact, ie. scaling up solutions to an industrial level.

This call targets projects that contribute to:

  • circular design (ecodesign)

  • solutions that eliminate the need for plastic

  • circular business models that enhance the utility of plastics before they become waste, for example, through the sharing economy, transitioning from product to service (XAAS), and extending product lifespan

  • reduced use of plastics in known applications

  • solutions that contribute to a safe circular plastics economy

  • reuse, for example, repair, refill, and return schemes

  • reusing plastic products or components for the same or new purposes

  • increased sorting of higher volumes of plastic from mixed waste

  • increased use of recycled plastic – in closed loops where possible

  • substitution, replacing plastic with other materials

  • technology that aids in reduction and recycling, for example, tracking and labelling, sorting, and recycling technology

Projects should not have significant adverse effects, eg. the amount of plastic introduced to the market, recycling, or emissions.

It is not possible to apply for

  • Pure operational costs

    • Development and testing of solutions and technology can be funded, operational costs for implementation cannot be funded.

    • Management of plastic in established waste and recycling streams.

  • Measures and activities implemented prior to grant decisions.

Application requirements

  • Private and public enterprises registered in the Brønnøysund Register Centre or an equivalent international body, such as Company "Registration Number (CRN), business number or equivalent, to verify the existence of your organisation

  • Organisation and contact persons must be registered in the project portal

  • Applicants must submit an electronic application through the project portal

  • Project accounting
    • Guidelines for hourly rates for personnel must be followed

    • Auditing, including Guide to project accounting and auditing

  • Applicants must provide realistic budgets and specify how the funds will be used

  • Applications must be written in Norwegian or English

  • Any previous agreements with the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund must have been honoured.

  • If at least one of the points below applies to the project, the application form requires the applicant to answer additional questions:
Reporting and accounting


  • Before the second and subsequent payments, the recipient must submit a status report for the project when requesting the disbursement of funds.

  • Multi-year projects: the recipient must submit a written annual report for the project each year.

  • All projects must submit a final report for the project.

  • All reports must be submitted electronically in the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund’s project portal. This will be explained in the startup meeting.

Project accounting and auditing

  • All projects must prepare final project accounts for the entire project period as part of the final report.

  • For grants from NOK 350,000 up to and including NOK 1,000,000, a statement must also be provided by a state-authorised auditor with “Agreed-upon procedures” in accordance with ISRS 4400 Agreed-upon procedures.

  • For grants exceeding NOK 1,000,000, a statement must also be provided by a state-authorised auditor with an audit of the project accounts in accordance with ISA 805 (Revised), Special considerations – audits of single financial statements and specific elements, accounts or items of a financial statement.

Costs associated with the use of an auditor are incurred by the project, and must be included in the budget when relevant.

Grants and VAT

Funding from the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund can be used as self-funding in connection with applications submitted to other funding schemes.

The grant includes any taxes, including value added tax (VAT). The grant is awarded as a gift.

Although the Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund considers that the grants awarded as gifts that are not normally subject to VAT, it is the service provider (i.e. the recipient) who is responsible for complying with their VAT regulations. The recipient must assess this on an independent basis. The Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund cannot be invoiced or otherwise charged for additional costs in cases where the recipient has misinterpreted the VAT regulations.

The applicant must clarify with its auditor whether an allocation will be subject to VAT or not.

Application processing

The application is treated confidentially

The application process adheres to a strict protocol of impartiality and confidentiality. You can read these declarations here. Note that the information in the application may be shared confidentially with other funding bodies (such as the Norwegian Environment Agency and the Savings Bank Foundation DNB) as part of the application process if relevant. This is to ensure thorough and efficient processing, as well as the appropriate use of funds.

Selected experts from NREFs Committee of external experts and the Board of Directors may access the application during their evaluation and decision making. In the application form, the applicant can specify names of individuals and businesses they consider to be impartial in the evaluation of their application, and therefore should not have access to the application.

Project evaluation

  • Evaluation of prequalification: At least two employees of the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund evaluate the application. Once the administrative decision is made, the applicant receives a response, either a rejection or an invitation to submit a full application.

  • Evaluation of full application: At least two employees of the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund evaluate the application. Additionally, external experts are involved as follows:
    • Applications up to and including NOK 500,000: An external expert's participation is only initiated based on the administrative team's judgement.

    • Applications over NOK 500,000, up to and including NOK 1,000,000: At least one external expert evaluates the application.

    • Applications over NOK 1,000 000: At least two external experts evaluate the application.

  • Decision: The administration of the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund compiles assessments from both its own and external experts, and presents recommended grants to the Board of Directors, that makes the final decision.

Assessment criteria

The application will be assessed according to four assessment criteria, all of which are given equal weight on a scale from 1-7:

  • The quality of the project
    The quality of the proposed measures, activities and methods. To what extent the proposed work is ambitious and innovative, realistic and well-founded in knowledge and experience.

  • Environmental impact
    The potential to reduce the negative environmental effects of plastic in the short and long term. To what extent the project can deliver good solutions and results. Plans for the dissemination and sharing of results, knowledge and of the concrete solutions developed in the project.

  • Implementation
    The quality of the project's organisation, management and resource use. To what extent the project is well-organised with the right expertise in the project team and partners.

  • Thematic priorities of the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund
    To what extent the project answers to the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund’s thematic priorities.

Some projects undergo additional scrutiny

  • This applies to applications exceeding NOK 5 million, and select projects that, in the opinion of the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund, require more thorough assessment

  • A web meeting with participants from the applicant, the Fund’s administration, and external experts will be arranged.

  • The applicant will present the project, and the Fund’s administration and external experts can ask questions about the application and the project.