A new deposit return system for drink container recycling has kicked off today, 1 February, in Latvia. Latvia 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.
Roll-out of container redemption technology
The total investment made by TOMRA is in the magnitude of 20 million euros, which includes the construction and installation of more than 1,046 reverse vending machines (RVMs) and 186 custom outdoor kiosks. Return locations in Latvia are grocery stores over 300m2 in cities and over 60m2 in rural areas. RVMs automate the collection of used beverage containers for recycling in deposit return systems. The machines identify, sort and compact eligible empty containers, as well as refund the user’s deposit, more efficiently than can be achieved through manual returns.
The reverse vending roll-out was made possible through proven technology and the united effort and smooth cooperation of the entire group, as the full TOMRA organization from different countries worked hard for several months to offer the best solution for the Latvian market.