Exchange DIY and construction materials in Čiekurkalns, Rīga

Property exchange points are becoming increasingly popular. In May, another such location opened in Čiekurkalns, Rīga: this one is specifically devoted to construction, repair, DIY materials, Latvian Radio reported July 29.

Waste arising from construction works is an ongoing problem. Waste managers often encounter different repair materials discarded with municipal waste.

“It is such a space where every Rīga resident has the opportunity to bring their repair materials and also to pick up what might be interesting,” said the coordinator, Zane Ruģēna.

According to the website, the point accepts plumbing equipment, electrical devices, furniture, constructions, tools, wood, paint and accessories, dry mixes and chemicals, construction materials, interior items.

“Here we have a shelf of different strange items [..] The keyboard has been standing here for some time, we ask not to bring us keyboards and items of that kind. We are delighted to have a lot of pots too. In the spring there was a planting boom and people really came, took, and changed those things related to gardening. You see a lot of lampshades for different tastes.”

The exchange point has been in place May and more than 200 people have already visited it. It will be open until the end of the summer, but Ruģēna said that this is a pilot project. Following this, guidelines will be drawn up to introduce such exchange points elsewhere; eight are planned in Rīga.

The aim of this project is to promote the introduction of a circular economy in urban construction in Riga. Waste that remains after repairs is a very pressing problem, Ruģēna says.

“For example, we work with the “Riga Housing Manager” and they say it is a trend, especially in the suburbs, people leave paint cans in containers, throw away very large furniture that is not allowed in principle,” Ruģēna said.

Guntars Levics, a member of the Clean R waste management company board, also agrees that construction waste is a pressing problem.

“If we start throwing bricks, pieces of concrete into containers, then first of all, we fill in a place designed for regular municipal waste. In other words, there might be no place for yourself and the neighbors to throw out the usual garbage bag until they are collected. The second is that it breaks both containers and machines, which makes it more expensive to provide the service to the customer. Most of the population, of course, are not abusive rule-breakers, but simply because of ignorance, they do,” Levics said.

If waste is disposed of incorrectly place, a penalty of EUR 70 to EUR 1000 may be imposed on natural persons and on legal persons between EUR 250 and EUR 2800.

The construction material exchange point on Viskaļu Street 36 works two days a week – on Mondays and Tuesdays from 12 to 19, but if necessary, contact in advance, you may also visit the location at another time.

On the website, you can find out more about the project (in Latvian).

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