Saeima aims to launch bottle deposit scheme in 2022

The Saeima Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee on October 8 approved amendments to the Packaging Law, which deal with introduction of a deposit return system in Latvia and stipulate that the new system will commence on February 1, 2022; the amendments will now be reviewed by Saeima in the third and final reading.

The committee's head Janis Vitenbergs (KPV LV) explained to the LETA newswire after the meeting that Saeima could review the amendments in the third reading on October 15 or 16.

The Saeima committee reviewed a number of proposals concerning amendments to the Packaging Law, including a provision that residents of Latvia will be able to receive cash in stores for packaging returned to the system, or receipts if they use a reverse vending machine, which they will then be able to cash in at stores.

The amendments also stipulate that contracts with deposit system operators will be signed for seven years, not ten years as the amendments stated originally, so the efficiency of the deposit return system could be reviewed, taking into account the rapid development of waste recycling technologies.

The commission agreed that operators applying for the deposit system would have the task of ensuring that there were no areas left in Latvia where it would be impossible to dispense beverage containers in a proper manner.

There are differing views on the introduction of a packaging deposit system. Many entrepreneurs have stressed that it would be too expensive and not efficient enough. Environmentalists are divided  - the Environmental Club has said it does not support a mandatory deposit system, while Green Freedom has insisted it would be an important green step.

Minister of Environment and Regional Development Juris Puce ("For Development / For!") said in an interview on LSM.lv that the deposit system is more expensive than separate waste collection, but it will allow up to 90% of the bottles to be collected.  

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