Deputy Director-General of the VVD Laura Anteina said that the introduction of a beverage packaging deposit system is one of the steps in bringing about a circular economy, reducing waste, and encouraging its reuse.
"As in other countries in Europe, including our neighboring countries Lithuania and Estonia, it is important for us to promote the development of the circular economy in Latvia and thus to promote public awareness and changing behavior in relation to both collection and use and re-use of waste,” Anteina said.
The VVD competition for system implementation was won by Depozīta iepakojuma operators Ltd. They will maintain the deposit system until 2029. The company's board chairman, Miks Stūrītis, said that contracts are currently being concluded with traders, packaging producers, and importers, materials processors and producers of reverse vending machines.
Stūrītis said: “The Packaging Law requires packaging to be accepted by all shops that sell beverages in deposit packaging and whose area is above 60 square meters. But there, of course, are often smaller stores which do not require the installation of reverse vending machines. In those stores, the packaging will be accepted manually.
“The contracts are going as scheduled and the first installed machines will already be seen in September. Similarly, we have currently concluded contracts with deposit packers for at least half of the volume, and there is already a change in labels and bar codes, placing a deposit mark on labels.”
The machines will not accept bottles and jars stored for a long time. Only packaging with a special identification mark and barcode will be accepted. The bottles and cans would be returned for a coupon with which residents can shop.
“It's a deposit system and that means that money can only be received for the packages for which this deposit has been made. The first day that you can start buying drinks on store shelves in a deposit package with a 10-cent surcharge is February 1 next year. I want to note that it's not a price for packaging, but the deposit fee [..] which is paid and returned when you bring back the empty container,” explained Stūrītis.
It is planned that there will be 1,400 deposit points in Latvia. Most will be reverse vending machines. 200 of them will be outside, near stores.
There will be a transitional period until July next year when retailers will be able to sell drinks both with a deposit mark and without it.