Currently, 80 hectares are allocated to waste management at the landfill site in Ropaži. The landfill capacity could be exhausted in five to seven years. “Getliņi Eko” Ltd manages half of all municipal waste generated in Latvia.
The company's representative, Inese Avota, said that in a survey carried out this autumn, more than 70% objected to the creation of a new landfill in Pierīga or Rīga. Therefore, the landfill capacity problem must be tackled by a waste sorting campaign, since, for example, sorting organic waste can reduce the amount to be stored in a landfill by 40%.
"I think the existing sorting system is inadequate. Waste is sorted by around 60% of the population, and it will now be mandatory for all to start sorting biological waste from 2024, and this is the period during which citizens can choose whether they will sort biological waste or not.[..] I think local governments need to place a great emphasis on the development of the waste sorting infrastructure because not everyone has access to it," said Avota.
Vita Paulāne, president of the Ropaži municipality council, confirmed that it is no longer possible to extend the landfill in this area, because there are private properties, railways, and the Daugava in the vicinity. In the future, it could be a challenge for another municipality. Inevitably, the presence of a landfill site would result in losses.
“There is more and more garbage every year. Obviously, waste is a problem that we all have to work on together. “We have no place to extend the landfill, because there are private lands that have already been acquired for other purposes,” said Paulāne.
The law currently provides that, for example, biowaste management rates must be 20% lower than municipal waste management fees. Māris Jansons, head of the Riga Alliance of Neighborhoods, said that the creation of a new landfill site will have resistance from residents anywhere in Latvia, but it would be the most beneficial for residents.
"I think there needs to be a good price policy. The majority of citizens do not have the kind of awareness that future generations need to thought about by sorting waste and leaving them a cleaner and more balanced environment. And so, in my opinion, the most important thing to think about is that it is simply beneficial to sort and that the price difference is not 20%, but perhaps 120%. This, of course, is not a popular decision either, because there are some places where sorting can't be ensured and some will have to go far, but on the other hand, we have to look at the great scale of things," Jansons said.
In order to reduce the amount of waste landfill, Getliņi Eko asks residents not to buy extra, to re-use what is purchased, and do more thorough sorting of waste. The deposit system has reduced the amount of waste, but not enough.