Producers: deposit return system has to be centralized and non-profit

Today, on April 24, the Memorandum of understanding was signed, expressing the convergence of will between all the beverage producers, indicating a common line of actions and financial readiness on the introduction of the deposit return system (DRS) in Latvia in order to reach the industries’ targets on the waste collection and recycling.

The Memorandum of understanding on the behalf of the whole beverage producers’ industry was signed by the Latvian Food Enterprises Federation, Latvian Beer Brewers Association, Latvian Soft Drink Association and the Latvian Beer Brewers Union. With the signatures' beverage producers take social responsibility for the environment and society, making sure that the produced packaging is collected and recycled.

By signing this memorandum of understanding, the representatives of the beverage industry support the introduction of the DRS in Latvia financially as well as by ensuring its maintenance based on the core principles – centralized system, non-profit principle (any profit is reinvested in sustainability and development of the DRS), as well as maintaining a close cooperation between beverage producers and retailers.

Deposit system so far is the only proven method to reach the high recovery and recycling targets set by the European Union, that requires for the Member States to collect and recycle 77% of single-use plastic bottles with caps and lids by 2025 and 90% by 2029. Comparing to the alternative proposals, the advantage of the DRS is the monetary incentive for consumers. Chairperson of the Council of the Latvian Food Enterprises Federation Ināra Šure.

As stated by I. Šure “by signing the memorandum of understanding, beverage industry undertakes to establish a cooperation with the decision makers and retailers to introduce the most effective and independent packaging deposit system”. She added that the aim of the DRS is to make existing waste management sector in Latvia more competitive and foreseeable in that way improving the recycling results on the most purchased packaging.

The DRS is innovative and modern, and it has proved to be working in countries that are perceived as the leaders for environmental protection. At the moment, there is a great interest in Europe in introduction of the DRS as it can guarantee effective results in two to three years’ time. The DRS is successfully operating already in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands and Germany (as well as in many states in the USA and in the greater part of Australia and Canada) as well as in Estonia and Lithuania, reaching the targets of the collected and recycled waste. Estonian and Lithuanian DRS are positive examples of high recovery and recycling results. In Lithuania the amounts of recovered packaging in 2018 were as follows: PET 91%, CAN 94% and OWG (single-use glass packaging) 82%, while in Estonia in 2018 the recovered amounts reached 85% for PET, CAN 86% and OWG 90%.

Latvian Joint Stock Company “Latvia’s State Forests” has also expressed its support on the introduction of the DRS in Latvia. “We stand for a clean environment, where people enjoy relaxing. Every year we can see that 70% of the collected waste in forests are empty PET bottles and cans. Other country experiences confirm that the DRS is effective regarding decreasing the number of bottles and cans found in nature, thus Latvia also should overtake this experience”, said JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” Head of the Communication department Tomass Kotovičs.