New project in Viļāni, Latvia focuses on recycling and zero waste living

The “Green Palette” (“Zaļā palete”) project in Viļāni will last three months, over which ten families will keep diaries about the content and volume of their waste, and workshops will be held on how to live and think green, according to Latvian Radio in Latgale on December 17.

The project aims to get residents to think more about the use of natural resources, and how they can move towards a zero waste lifestyle. “Seek the simple” blog author Laura Arnicāne explained how to avoid the situation where you have a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear. This means you have to shop smarter.

“One of the most important things we must understand, and that shocks people, is that the clothes industry causes the most global pollution after oil production,” said Arnicāne.

“As you might imagine, a large part of clothing is created from petroleum. All synthetic fabrics are made from petroleum products, it's not just the production, or the fabric production, it's the coloring,” continued the author. In her workshop she urges participants to clear out the extra clothes in their closet, and think about investing in quality, sustainable clothing when shopping in the future.

One of the greatest challenges for society is recycling, which Viļāni is trying to expand. “The project contains several activities. One of them is determining people's habits in regards to waste; people are given forms, and every day they mark down how much paper packaging, PET bottles and other things they've thrown out,” said project representative Irina Klimanova.

“Then the materials are obvious and you can see, did I really need to buy ten water bottles,” said Klimanova.

Artis Kozlovskis was already recycling before he got involved in the project. After getting involved, he learned additional information about how to correctly recycle. In his opinion, if recycling becomes a habit, then it's no longer burdensome.

During the project the illegal dump in Viļāni will be liquidated, with the trash being not only collected, but also recycled. Surveillance cameras will be installed, and booklets explaining how to properly recycle waste will be created. Activities will continue in Viļāni until next summer, with the hopes that the environmentally-friendly thinking will become an everyday habit.

As previously reported, According to the supported amendments to the packaging law in the final reading in Saeima, the bottle deposit system will take effect in February 2022. The first discussions around a packaging deposit began 19 years ago in Saeima.

According to the law, consumers will pay the cost of the product and deposit, which will be separately displayed, when purchasing a product in a deposit bottle. In turn, those accepting the bottles will repay the deposit to the consumer or give them a receipt, which they can redeem for product in-store.

The deposit system will accept beer, non-alcoholic drink, cider and cocktail plastic or glass bottles of various sizes, as well as cans for recycling. It will also be possible to deposit bottles, which have been purchased outside of Latvia and are marked with a deposit symbol.

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