Latvian stores prepare for packaging deposit system

The beverage packaging deposit system will be launched in Latvia on February 1. 90% of stores have signed contracts on the servicing of the system, Latvian Radio reported January 17.

"The overall situation looks even very good as there are now agreements with 1,302 places. The total is planned at 1,474 retail venues, so it is a very good indicator. Most of them will be automated reverse vending machines – nearly 1,000, others will be manual. 615 vending machines have been set up by today, around 700 scheduled for February 1, with the majority already in place."

Vineta Grigāne-Drande, a spokeswoman for the Elvi shop network, said that 103 beverage deposit locations have been created at Elvi throughout Latvia. Elvi operates on a franchise basis, which means that stores have many owners.

"We'll have stores that will accept containers manually, we also have a variety of small - and medium-sized machines, and we'll also have the big ones [..] What traders had to ensure is adaptation of the environment, matching projects if there were necessary additions, connecting to electricity, the internet. Then again, both the emptying and management of machines and everything else will be on traders' shoulders."

85 stores have not yet signed the contract. Miks Stūrītis, Chairman of the Management Board of Deposit Packaging, says that currently the largest network of stores that have not entered into a contract to implement the deposit system is Beta with 28 stores.

There are still a lot of reasons and variety – it's a fear of change, it's a postponement to the last moment. Many traders do not understand that, in fact, accepting this packaging is an additional service for their customers, and that traders who do not sign it, hesitate or sign it later will be losers. This is also shown by the fact that we have 150 shops, those who are not required by the law to accept because they are not large enough, but they have already signed this contract and it is in addition to the convenience of the buyer."

There will be a transitional period until August 1 when retailers will be able to sell drinks both with a deposit mark and without it.

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