Food Rescue Rebates

Program snapshot

Category: Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 

Amounts: Up to $2,000 per rebate with a total funding pool of up to $800,000.

Eligibility: Food rescue organisations and/or food relief organisations


Status: Open, ongoing until 30 June 2027, until funding is expended, or at the EPA’s discretion. 

Managed by: NSW Environment Protection Authority


The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is working to reduce good quality food suitable for human consumption from being disposed to landfill. The Food Rescue Rebates are available to expand food rescue and relief capacity to safely manage increasing amounts of rescued food in NSW. The rebates are part of a suite of organics programs available to support NSW to halve organics waste to landfill by 2030.

The objectives of this rebate program are to:

  • increase the diversion (i.e. rescue) of quality food suitable for human consumption from landfill
  • support NSW food rescue and relief organisations to expand their capacity to manage increasing amounts of rescued food to provide to the community
  • provide a simplified funding alternative for small food rescue and relief projects.

Funding available

We are looking for solutions to increase the amount of rescued food in NSW. Applicants are encouraged to consider how the rebate might support innovative approaches to rescue more food.

Eligible applicants can submit an application for funding up to $2,000 (inc. GST) per financial year, per eligible address. Rebates will be available until either:

  • 30 June 2027; 
  • when funding is expended; or
  • at the EPA’s discretion.

If an applicant operates from multiple eligible addresses in NSW, the applicant may apply for an individual rebate for each eligible address. If applying for multiple rebates, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that different communities are being supported at each eligible address e.g. if the locations have different post codes. 

The applicant can be granted funding for a single item or multiple items per rebate application e.g. if an applicant has purchased two eligible items for a total cost of less than $2,000, the applicant can include both items on the single application as only one rebate is allowed per financial year per eligible address in NSW. 

If some items on an application are eligible items and others are not, the rebate amount will only cover the eligible items.

View the terms and conditions (PDF 196KB)

Information session

Application form

Applications must be submitted through Smartygrants.

Applicants may also set up a SmartyFile account to allow team members to work together on SmartyGrant applications.

If you experience technical difficulty creating a SmartyGrants or SmartyFile account, please contact SmartyGrants on (03) 9320 6888.

Apply via SmartyGrants


These guidelines can also be downloaded as PDF.

For the purpose of this rebate program:

Capacity means the amount of a Rescued Food that is physically able to be rescued, stored, processed and/or redistributed by the applicant.

EPA means the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority.

Eligible Address means the physical address of a premises from which the Food Rescue Organisation or Food Relief Organisation operates and provides food rescue and/or relief support to the community. This address must be:

  • listed on under food support; and 
  • on all required rebate application supporting documents (e.g. bank statements). 

Food Donor means a business who donates good quality food suitable for human consumption to Food Relief and/or Food Rescue Organisations. 

Food Relief Organisation is a not-for-profit organisation that provides free or low-cost Rescued Food directly to the community (e.g. meals, community kitchens, hampers, pantries etc.), and meets the following criteria. A Food Relief Organisation must:

Food Rescue Organisation is a not-for-profit organisation that collect and distribute rescued food from Food Donors and either deliver it directly to Food Relief Organisations or store it in warehouses, ready for distribution to Food Relief Organisations, and meets the following criteria. Noting a Food Rescue Organisation many also be a Food Relief Organisation, a Food Rescue Organisation must:

Food Rescue Rebate Terms and Conditions Each rebate is made subject to the Rebate Terms and Conditions (PDF 196KB) and applicants will be required to agree to and comply with the Terms and Conditions as well as these Food Rescue Rebate Guidelines.

Rescued Food means collecting (i.e. rescuing) good quality food suitable for human consumption from a Food Donor thereby preventing it from being disposed to landfill.

By 2030, food, garden, and textile waste is estimated to generate 3.7 million tonnes of CO2-e landfill emissions across NSW, and without intervention this waste is set to increase. The NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 (WaSM) sets targets to halve organics waste sent to landfill, including through increased support for food rescue and relief and the allocation of $4 million to increase rescued food donations.

The National Food Waste Baseline shows that in NSW approximately 1.7 million tonnes of food waste is produced each year, and although around 70% of this food waste is edible, more than half is still ending up in landfill.

The new Food Rescue Rebate program builds on lessons learnt from the food donation programs delivered from 2013-21 under the Waste Less, Recycle More funding. A total of $6.2 million was awarded to 62 infrastructure and education projects, recovering 11,000 tonnes more surplus food in NSW each year, the equivalent of 22 million meals.

This rebate program provides a funding pool of up to $800,000 to support the NSW food rescue and relief sector to expand their capacity to safely manage increasing amounts of rescued food as supply increases. Rebates are intended to support smaller infrastructure projects, the purchase of items and equipment, and education and analysis projects to divert increasing amounts of good quality food suitable for human consumption from landfill and redistribute it to the community.

The rebates differ from the Food Rescue Grants program, as the grants program focuses on supporting larger food rescue projects through a funding pool of up to $2.37 million.

In combination with this rebate program, the EPA will be delivering a range of resources to support food donation, rescue and relief, including:

  • resources for businesses and Bin Trim waste assessors to connect more food donors with food rescue and/or relief organisations 
  • online resources, case studies and food donation, rescue and relief information
  • updated guidance on ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates
  • updating guidance on the Civil Liability Act 2002.

Eligible applicants must:

  1. be a Food Rescue and/or Food Relief Organisation operating in NSW
  2. have an active Australian Business Number (ABN) for at least six months
  3. be a not-for-profit organisation registered on
  4. have an active website or social media page showing rescued food activities
  5. be operating from an eligible address listed on under food support
  6. be using the purchased item(s) at an eligible address that has not already received this rebate in the current financial year.

Items must be purchase on or after the rebate program start date. If an item is purchased in June, an application extension will be permitted and applicants can apply up until 31 July in the same year for the rebate to count towards the previous financial year.

Items and equipment included in a rebate application should help the applicant access new donors and/or greater amounts of rescued food. Items must also demonstrate value for money, meaning the cost of the item needs to demonstrate a useful outcome that will help the applicant rescue more good quality food suitable for human consumption.

Examples of eligible items for rebates

A local supermarket has excess perishables that could be rescued if the Food Rescue organisation purchased a chiller freezer to quickly snap freeze food before the use by date.

A cost benefit analysis or feasibility study etc. that could determine the most suitable path to increase the amount of rescued food and decrease the amount of purchased food when preparing meals to be distributed to the community.

Eligible items must divert or demonstrate how they can increase the applicant’s capacity to divert increased amounts of rescued food i.e., more than is currently rescued in a typical week.

Eligible items include:

  • items and equipment that will contribute to increased capacity to rescue, store, process and/or redistribute rescued food from food donors to the community, e.g.
    • reusable food handling crates, insulated bags etc.
    • larger commercial kitchen sized equipment
    • large soup kettle warmers
    • bread slicers
    • chiller freezers to quick freeze perishables
    • scales and equipment to measure amounts of rescued food
  • food donation, rescue or relief educational resources focused on increasing rescued food
  • branded (must be the applicant brand) reusable uniforms or protective clothing items for staff and/or volunteers, e.g. washable aprons which improve food handling safety and build community awareness and participation with the applicant organisation
  • costs associated with technology and/or system development to improve operational efficiency, including data monitoring and storage of data
  • costs associated with consultancy research, a feasibility study, a cost benefit analysis, to review and make recommendations on how the applicant organisation can increase their capacity to rescue, store, process and/or redistribute increased amounts of rescued food and how to implement any recommended changes. Recommendations must include how the applicant organisation can sustain changes in the long term without ongoing government funding, including how to manage ongoing costs. 

Ineligible items include:

  • items, equipment, and activities that:
    • have not been purchased by the applicant
    • do not relate to increasing the amount of rescued food diverted from landfill
    • are intended for food other than for human consumption
    • are used or conducted outside of NSW
    • that have not been purchased in the same financial year as when the application is made
  • Freight, insurance, service, repair, or maintenance of an eligible rebate item
  • equipment or quantities of items that may be in a household or domestic kitchen e.g. non-industrial microwaves, kettles, sandwich presses, cutlery sets
  • single use items
  • food waste disposal (e.g. composting equipment) or food waste reuse opportunities (e.g., remanufacture, valorisation, animal feed production etc). See the Bin Trim program for waste support funding options
  • the purchase of food or land
  • operational expenses including e.g. rent, fuel, electricity, insurance, services, maintenance, repair, salaries, training, housekeeping
  • statutory requirements such as development consent, operating licenses, or compliance
  • education, research and marketing costs not directly related to food donation, rescue or relief
  • costs of preparing and/or applying for the rebate.

Applications that do not satisfy all eligibility conditions will be deemed ineligible and will not receive the rebate.

Before making an application, please check that your organisation is eligible for the rebate. To be eligible, you should answer Yes to all 6 requirements in the Eligible applicants section (above).

In addition, make sure the items or equipment are eligible by referring to the Eligible Rebate Items section (above) and the Food Rescue Rebate Terms and Conditions. Only eligible rebate applicants and items will be considered for a Food Rescue rebate.

Next steps

  1. Purchase the eligible item(s) from March 2024 and save the tax invoice(s) and/or receipt(s). 
  2. Lodge the rebate application through SmartyGrants. Your rebate application will need to include the following: 
    1. an active ABN (for a minimum of six months)
    2. your Eligible Address, refer to Definitions above
    3. evidence that your organisation is located at and operating from the eligible address, this could be a photo of the team out the front of the building visibly showing the address (preferred) or a tenancy lease agreement etc
    4. an active website or social media page link(s) showing rescued food activities
    5. a brief description of how the new item(s) will support more good quality food suitable for human consumption being rescued from landfill disposal and redistributed to the community. For example, a chiller freezer to quick freeze perishables approaching use-by dates allows approximately 100kg more food to be rescued a week which will be distributed to the community through food hampers
    6. a photo of installed item(s) with staff/volunteer(s) present, preferably in branded uniform, or a copy of any final consultancy reports as evidence of the purchased items
    7. consent for the use of any uploaded images on behalf of the organisation and the individuals in the photos (if applicable)
    8. a tax invoice  or receipt  for the purchased item(s)
      Note: Invoices showing the purchased item(s) must have the supplier's name and ABN, the applicant’s organisation name, address and ABN, payment date, itemised cost and description of each item and/or service. Services such as freight and installation must be listed separately.
      Receipts for purchased items, including EFTPOS receipts, must have the supplier's name and ABN, payment date, item cost and description of each item and/or service.
    9. a bank statement showing the applicant has paid for the item(s), including the applicant name, address, BSB and account number. This should be the same BSB and account number the rebate will be deposited into, if approved.
  3. The applicant is to read and satisfy themselves of the Food Rescue Rebate Terms and Conditions if they wish to proceed with an application.
  4. To proceed with the application, the applicant must tick the box acknowledging they agree to and will comply with the Food Rescue Rebate Terms and Conditions. By ticking this box on the SmartyGrants portal, the applicant agrees to all of the Food Rescue Rebate Terms and Conditions.
  5. Once lodged, you will receive an acknowledgement email of your application. If you do not receive an email within 24 hours, please email the Organics unit to confirm your rebate application has been received.
Key dates Rebate stages

18 March 2024

Applications open

Thursday 28 March, 10:30am-11:30am

Rebate information session

Day 1

Rebate application lodged via SmartyGrants and applicant receives an acknowledgement email

Day 30

Rebate assessment period; applicant will be notified of outcome

Day 60

Approved rebate will be reimbursed

30 June 2027

Rebates will be available until funding is expended or at the EPA’s discretion, but closing by June 2027

30 June 2027 Rebates will be available until funding is expended or at the EPA’s discretion, but closing by June 2027

Applications will undergo an eligibility check, assessed against the eligibility criteria in this guideline. Applicants will be notified of the outcome up to 30 days from lodging an application. If an application is unsuccessful and no fraudulent activity was suspected, the applicant may reapply for a different Food Rescue Rebate in the same financial year.

All rebate decisions are at the discretion of the EPA and are considered final. For general rebate enquiries or concerns about a rebate decision, please contact the NSW EPA Organics unit on


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