Latvia’s upcoming deposit return system appoints TOMRA as reverse vending provider

Global reverse vending leader TOMRA to start rolling out return technology across the country for beverage container recycling.

The central system administrator for Latvia’s future deposit return system, SIA Depozīta Iepakojuma Operators, today signed a contract appointing TOMRA to provide the reverse vending technology for the upcoming bottle and can recycling program. Latvia’s deposit return system (DRS) will launch in just over six months on February 1st, 2022.

The world’s leading provider of reverse vending machines (RVMs), TOMRA, will supply 800-1000 automated collection points. These return points seek to make container returns as convenient as possible for Latvian consumers, and achieve the ambitious targets set by SIA Depozīta Iepakojuma Operators.

image of two girls putting bottles in a reverse vending machine while their mother is watching them

Track record in deposit return systems

Deposit return systems add a small deposit on top of the price of drinks sold in beverage containers, which is repaid when the consumer returns the container for recycling. Reverse vending machines like TOMRA’s automate the collection of used beverage containers for recycling in DRSs. The machines identify, sort and compact eligible empty containers, as well as refund the user’s deposit, more efficiently that can be achieved through manual returns.

TOMRA has over 45 years of experience working in deposit return systems. The company has approximately 80,000 reverse vending machines in 40 deposit markets (and further markets without deposit systems), with seven of every 10 reverse vending solutions worldwide produced by TOMRA. In addition to return technology, TOMRA has worked in roles across every part of the DRS value chain, including material pick-up, PET processing and data management. Its roles have included large-scale roll-outs of reverse vending infrastructure in new DRSs in Lithuania in 2015-2016 as well as in 2017 in New South Wales, Australia, where those roll-outs had a timeframe of four months or less.

Latvia’s deposit return roll-out

Containers eligible for recycling in Latvia’s deposit return system will include drink cans and plastic/glass bottles in various sizes (covering beverage types such as non-alcoholic drinks, beer and cider). The containers will have a deposit value of €0.10, and grocery retailers will serve as return locations. The reverse vending equipment will be owned and maintained by TOMRA, and TOMRA will be paid based on the volume of beverage containers returned through the machines.

The new DRS will see Latvia join the other Baltic states of Estonia and Lithuania in offering deposit systems. The DRS is also set to help Latvia achieve the goals of the European Union’s Single-Use Plastics Directive, which targets that its member states separately collect 90% of plastic beverage containers for recycling by 2029, in a commitment to slashing plastic waste and pollution.

“Since the announcement of the results of the tender for reverse vending machines, a great deal of work has been done in cooperation with retailers; we have identified the planned volumes of returned packaging, as well as clarified the necessary RVM models in order to make the involvement of beverage manufacturers and retailers in the deposit system as easy as possible,” said Miks Stūrītis, Chairman of the Board, SIA Depozīta Iepakojuma Operators. “TOMRA’s previous experience with deposit systems in other countries will help us implement a safe and modern deposit system. Besides, convenient and modern RVMs are an essential precondition for introducing a new habit in the society: the return of deposit packaging.”

“It is an honor to be appointed by SIA Depozīta Iepakojuma Operators to such an integral role in Latvia’s future deposit return scheme for recycling,” said Harald Henriksen, Head of TOMRA Collection Solutions. “We are ready and enthusiastic to get work under way in rolling out the container return infrastructure across Latvia, to help the country deliver on its environmental ambitions and drive a circular economy through a world-class deposit return system.”

Contact TOMRA if you have any questions, need additional images or would like to arrange to speak to the TOMRA team.