A new deposit return system for drink container recycling has kicked off today, 1 February, in Latvia. Latvia's Central System Administrator last year appointed TOMRA as the reverse vending technology provider for the environmental and circular economy initiative, which sees over 1000 reverse vending machines installed all over the country. With today’s launch, Latvia joins the rest of the Baltic and Nordic countries in offering a deposit return system (DRS).
Latvian consumers will pay an extra 10 euro cents when purchasing an eligible drink, which will be refunded to them when they return the empty bottle or can for recycling. Latvia aims is to achieve a return rate of over 90% for eligible containers, in line with targets in the European Union’s Single-Use Plastics Directive for member states to separately collect 90% of plastic beverage containers for recycling by 2029. The country’s new deposit system accepts non-refillable (one-way) and refillable glass bottles, plastic bottles and aluminum cans of 0.1 to 3 liters. Consumers in Latvia can begin returning eligible containers from today. Old, non-returnable containers will be sold in parallel with new containers until August.
Latvia’s DRS launch follows close behind other deposit activity in 2021, with Slovakia unveiling its new deposit system on 1 January, the same day that Germany expanded its world-leading program to include more beverage and container types. In the past three years alone, 23 states or countries have committed to update existing deposit systems or develop new systems.
Jānis Vitenbergs, Minister for Economics in Latvia, return a drink container to a TOMRA reverse vending machine for recycling