Deposit system to be launched in Latvia this week

After more than 20 years of discussions, the deposit system will finally be launched in Latvia on February 1, Latvian Television reported January 30.

As of February 1, the deposit system will gradually be launched: an additional 10 cents per beverage bottle or can will be paid and returned in the form of cash or a voucher after the packaging is returned.

During the half-year-long transition period, store shelves will contain packages both with a deposit mark and without. Moreover, it should be noted that not all packages will be marketable. Currently, the system includes all kinds of packaging for soft drinks and waters, as well as alcoholic drinks with the alcohol content up to 6%.

Regardless of which store the drink has been purchased from, it will be possible to return the packaging to any deposit point, of which there are currently approximately 1,400 in Latvia. They are mostly in stores; most are automated, but some stores will accept it manually. To return the packaging, it must be undamaged.

The deposit system has been tested and worked effectively in dozens of other countries.

“Just next to us in the neighboring country of Lithuania, where the deposit system was discovered a little more than five years ago, has shown one of the best results in the world,” said Jānis Rozītis, head of the World Fund for Nature in Latvia.

In Latvia, the deposit system hopes to significantly reduce the proportion of waste that is currently in landfills.

“That milestone, the reference target that is what we have to achieve, in 2035, only 10% of municipal waste can be disposed of. By comparison, currently, around 60% are taken to landfills," said Artūrs Toms Plešs, Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development (Development/For!).

Even though the system is still in the initial stage, there could be possible extensions in the future; namely, other types of product packaging could be returned.

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