Case Study

Container Exchange

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Container Exchange

Project Overview

Container Exchange

Key Services
Outcomes framework | Social Return on Investment (SROI) | Social Valuation | ESG / Sustainability reporting | Data visualisation

The context

In 2018, Container Exchange was appointed as the organisation responsible for operating Queensland’s new Containers for Change Scheme. The scheme was developed to:

  • increase the recovery and recycling of empty beverage containers
  • reduce the number of empty beverage containers that are littered or disposed into landfill
  • ensure the manufacturers of beverage products meet their product stewardship responsibility in relation to their beverage products
  • provide opportunities for social enterprise, and benefits for community organisations
  • complement existing collection and recycling activities for recyclable waste.

The Containers for Change Scheme collected and refunded over 1.9 billion beverage containers in the 2021–2022 financial year.

Think Impact was engaged to measure the social, economic and environmental value they created through this investment in increasing the circularity of beverage containers.

What we did

Think Impact identified six material stakeholder groups who benefit from the Scheme.

  1. Environment, through reduced CO2 emissions, reduced waste to landfill and reduced litter.
  2. Employees who would not otherwise be employed and have found employment in container refund points, logistics providers and processors.
  3. Charities and community groups who receive refunds.
  4. Customers who receive refunds, especially those who can use the refunds to help meet their basic needs.
  5. Waste recovery industry, through increased profits.
  6. First Nations communities, through increased opportunities, skills, and employment.

We also identified material impacts relating to changes in consumer attitudes, changes in producer attitudes, increased quality of recyclable material and contributions to the future circular economy.

We developed an outcomes framework that is now supporting Container Exchange to measure outcomes across all of these stakeholders.

We then analysed the value being created for each of these stakeholders across economic, social and environmental domains through a Social Return on Investment methodology.

Container Exchange’s decision to pursue Social Return on Investment methodology represented the highest level of transparency in reporting against outcomes for stakeholders compared to other container deposit schemes nationally.

Overall, the analysis identified that $281 million of value was created through the Containers for Change Scheme in the 2021–22 financial year. The majority of this – $175 million – was economic value, with a further $62 million of social value and $44 million of environmental value created.

Container Exchange

This work supported Container Exchange to report transparently to communities and government stakeholders about the overall benefits of increased investment in the circular economy and increased recycling.

Download the Container Exchange annual report.

Our collaborators in impact