Latvia's deposit system 101: what, where, and how

On February 1, the beverage packaging deposit system is launched in Latvia. We have prepared a rundown of the key information you should know to begin taking advantage of it.

What packaging can I deposit?

Currently, the system includes cans, plastic bottles, and glass bottles containing water, soft drinks, beer, and alcoholic beverages with an alcohol percentage up to 6% (cider, cocktails etc.). Strong alcoholic beverages and wine are not currently included.

To be able to deposit the packaging, it must be labeled as a single-use or refillable container (AU) pictured below. Until July 31, stores will sell packaging both with and without the label.

The packaging must be empty and undamaged, including the barcode and the label.

Where can I deposit the packaging?

You can deposit the beverage packaging at 1,400 points throughout Latvia, around half of which are reverse vending machines and the other half are manual. The points are mostly located in or outside stores. A map of the points is available here.

The packaging can be returned at any location regardless of where it has been purchased.

What is the fee?

Per item of packaging, a fee of 10 cents will be added to the price of the beverage. Upon deposit, you will be able to get that fee back either in the form of a voucher for purchases at the store or cash.

How do I use the reverse vending machines?

To deposit a bottle or can, place it bottom-first in the machine. When all packaging has been deposited, press the button on the screen to finish the process and receive a voucher. The voucher can be used at the store indicated on it, either directly or in exchange for cash. The retailer chooses the approach to using the vouchers. 

The machines reportedly have an English-language option available.

How do I use the manual deposit points?

In places where there is no reverse vending machine but packaging is still accepted (usually smaller stores), there will be a sticker with the deposit logo. Turn to the shop assistant who will check whether the packaging is undamaged and accept it in exchange for cash or a store voucher.

Who can deposit the packaging?

Anyone in possession of eligible packaging can deposit.

 

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