On February 1, 2022, Latvia should start operating a deposit system. Latvian Television’s broadcast Vides fakti (Environmental Facts) explored what is being done about it and whether Latvia will achieve it on time.
State Environmental Service (VVD) has entered into an agreement with the deposit packaging operators “Depozīta iepakojuma operators” Ltd. and preparations are ongoing to implement the system.
“A number of different partner selection processes, competitions, are currently underway. The most obvious is the competition for choice of suppliers of reverse vending machines, as well as the fitting, installation and other essential things,“ said Miks Stūrītis, Chairman of “Depozīta iepakojuma operators” Ltd.
There will be at least 1,500 deposit points in Latvia, some of which will be operated by employees, while in 800-850 places there will be reverse vending machines. The total costs of introducing the deposit system could reach €30-35 million, and the purchase of machines itself would cost the most. The cost of purchasing reverse vending machines is €22-30 million, explained Stūrītis.
“We are also evaluating a machine lease model in which we would pay suppliers for every packaging. Five bidders have applied for [the position]. There is [an offer] from Russia, a joint offer from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, from Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands,” Stūrītis said.
Who will supply these machines could be known at the end of the summer.
“The packaging law requires stores that are 60 square meters and larger and are located outside cities of national importance to ensure that packaging is accepted in any way,” said Stūrītis. Meanwhile, in cities of State importance, deposit points have to be located in all stores above 300 square meters.
According to the Latvian Traders Association, such arrangements are not beneficial. “We were hoping there would be an extended deposit that in time we would be able to add other [packages to be deposited]. This is not the case at the moment (..) and the machine doesn’t have to be on every corner It makes no sense, for example, to put eight machines in different shops of the Spice mall. Logically, one pick-up point is enough, and it’s not worth making eight. It is both expensive and inefficient,” said Henriks Danusēvičs, Chairman of the Latvian Traders Association.
At the end of the summer, an interactive map should be developed to see where and what kind of packaging reception points are. Also by the end of the summer, it is planned to reach an agreement with the recycling companies that could purchase the collected packaging, and to work on the establishment of a sorting center.
According to Environment Ministry’s representative Alda Ozola, there is currently no cause for concern that the deposit system might be delayed in its implementation, but the State Environmental Service “has to keep an eye on it.”