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Container Exchange

In 2018, Container Exchange (COEX) was established as a not-for-profit organisation to run Queensland’s Containers for Change scheme.

440 million

eligible containers returned

30% more than the forecast

+$44 million

has been paid out

to individuals, charities, community and sports groups and not-for-profit organisations

635+

new jobs created

in the first six months of operation

170,000

registrations for Scheme IDs

including 3,000 charities, community groups and not-for-profits

Who We Are

Each year, nearly three billion drink containers are generated in Queensland. Empty drink containers are the state’s second-most littered item.

To address this, create jobs and support social enterprise, Container Exchange (COEX) was established in 2018 as a not-for-profit organisation to run Queensland’s Containers for Change scheme.

The scheme allows people to return empty eligible drink containers for a 10 cent refund at one of 270 sites statewide, reducing beverage container litter across the state and encouraging social enterprises to raise funds from donations of container refunds.

COEX is focused on increasing recycling and helping the community to benefit from donations to charities, community & sports groups and not-for-profit organisations registered with the scheme.

What We Do

On 1 November 2018, the Containers for Change scheme was launched, with more than 230 container refund points opening on the same day. The scheme was introduced in a tight timeframe with a small core staff of less than 20 people, resulting in a tight knit team initially establishing the network.

COEX contracts more than 40 operators around the state to run container refund points. These consist of:

  • traditional recycling depots (most with automatic counting machines, refund terminals or reverse vending machines)
  • bag drop-off points
  • mobile refund points for more remote areas
  • pop-up refund points at special events.

There are also donation points set up by local charities or community groups where people can donate their containers, with the 10 cent refund per container going the nominated charity or group. People can also donate refunds to a charity, community group or not-for-profit by asking that it go to a specific group’s Scheme ID.

Containers are collected from container refund points by logistics providers, who deliver them processors, who then prepare containers by material type for sale to a panel of vetted recyclers through an online auction platform.

Outcomes and Key Achievements

Within six months, the Containers for Change scheme exceeded container return forecasts by around 35 per cent, with 440 million containers returned since the start of the scheme – 30 per cent more than the New South Wales scheme in the same period, which launched 12 months earlier.

In addition, the number of container refund points around the state rose from around 230 to more than 270.

More than $44 million has been paid out to individuals, charities, community and sports groups and not-for-profit organisations.

But the best news is the number of new jobs created. In the first six months of operation more than 635 people were employed across the statewide network – including those who were long-term unemployed, who have a disability, or young people unable to find work.

In the first six months of operation more than 635 people were employed across the statewide network – including those who were long-term unemployed, who have a disability, or young people unable to find work.

COEX Culture and Values

The COEX team has a strong set of values which guide actions and decision-making, ie.:

  • consideration of the environment and sustainability
  • respect
  • integrity
  • ownership of our actions and accountability.