The deposit system for drink packages started work in Latvia on February 1 and a transitional period was in force until August.
"The end of the period when the packages have to be studied has come to an end, as there were both [labeled and unlabeled]. Packages without a deposit label can no longer be marketed at this time," said Miks Stūrītis, head of the deposit system operator.
Glass bottles, PET bottles, and metal cans of non-alcoholic beverages, all types of beer and other alcoholic beverages below 6% are included in the deposit system. For each purchased deposit package, 10 extra cents is paid which is returned after the deposit.
If, after August 1, packages of beverages with no deposit marking are displayed on store shelves, an administrative penalty may be imposed on the trader.
The Director General of the State Environmental Service (VVD), Elita Baklāne, said in an interview on Latvian Television that an absolute majority of traders are prepared for the deposit system and offer a quality service to their customers.
Some shopkeepers have problems with residents' habits of bringing packages to deposit on weekends and evening hours when there are fewer service personnel.
"There are some traders who still oppose it and don't even sign the contract with the operator. These are 32 sales locations with which the State Environmental Service works, five companies," said Baklāne, noting that among these companies four are small businesses with one shop.
Producers of beverages who place deposit packaging on the market in small quantities up to 150 kilograms per year are not required to participate in the deposit system, which means that stores may still sell separate packages without a deposit label.