24.09.2021 - Food processing & retail, Innovation

Rimi installs the first reverse vending machine

As part of the launch of the beverage deposit system, the retail chain Rimi, in cooperation with SIA Depozīta iepakojuma operators, has installed its first reverse vending machine (RVM). It will be operational from 1 February, providing customers with the opportunity to recycle glass, PET bottles and metal cans.

Around 40 RVMs will be set up across Latvia over one week. By 1 February, 800 to 1,000 beverage packaging collection points will be equipped with RVMs.

“Environmental pollution is one of the most challenging problems of the 21st century, so the introduction of the deposit system is a great benefit for the Latvian society. This system will create additional opportunities to actively participate in environmental protection and will also provide an economic incentive to recycle beverage packaging, thus positively influencing people’s habits,” comments Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development Artūrs Toms Plešs.

From 1 February, shoppers will be able to place their empty and undamaged beverage containers in the machine and receive a voucher worth 10 cents for each container returned, which can be redeemed at any Rimi store. The beverage packages will be taken from the reverse vending machines to the company Depozīta iepakojuma operators for further processing.  It is expected that the RVMs will enable Rimi stores to collect and recycle more than 100 million packaging items per year.

“When planning the locations of the RVMs, we were mainly guided by making it convenient for customers to hand over used bottles and for it to become their daily habit just like shopping at Rimi,” says Valdis Turlais, Chairman of the Board of Rimi Latvia.

“By signing the agreement on participation in the deposit system with Rimi Latvia, we have taken a step closer to implementing an efficient deposit system. One of the keys to the success of the system is the involvement of retailers in creating a wide packaging collection network and given the popularity of Rimi stores among the population I am sure that the deposit system will soon become an integral part of everyone’s daily life,” said Miks Stūrītis, Chairman of the Board of SIA Depozīta iepakojuma operators.

First Green Loan in Latvia

SEB Bank has granted funding of 6 million euros to SIA Depozīta iepakojuma operators for the implementation of a beverage packaging deposit system in Latvia, wrote Labs of Latvia. This is the first Green Loan issued by SEB Bank in Latvia, which is available to companies implementing environmentally friendly and sustainable business solutions.

In response to growing investor demand to engage in climate change initiatives, SEB and the World Bank developed the concept of green bonds in 2008. In 2017, SEB issued its first green bonds worth 500 million euros. Part of the proceeds from these bonds are used to provide financing to companies in the Baltic States planning to implement sustainable, environmentally friendly projects.

The introduction of the deposit system is an essential tool to reduce the amount of waste that is released into the environment. “We cannot pretend that climate change does not affect us, so we need to act now to reduce our future environmental impact,” previously said Member of the Board of SEB Bank Ints Krasts. This has been talked about at national level for years, so he is pleased that words are put into action and that the bank is able to support the project as well.

“Our direct impact as a bank in the context of climate change mitigation is only 5%, the other 95% is indirect impact related to the projects financed by the bank. It is therefore important to support the activities and initiatives of companies to work together to create a better environment for themselves and for future generations. SEB aims to continue to be among the leaders in green investments and investments and to promote sustainable projects. Around 50% of SEB Group’s Green Loan portfolio consists of renewable energy projects, with the remainder financing green buildings, transport, and energy efficiency projects,” says Krasts.

Part of the Circular Economy

Stūrītis sees the deposit system as the next step in reducing the amount of waste going into the environment and introducing a well-functioning, stable circular economy. By combining modern technology with sound and sustainable management of the system, it is possible to achieve environmental targets quickly and efficiently and increase packaging recycling rates.

“While plastic or PET packaging currently creates the most pollution in forests, lakes, rivers, and seas, as well as in parks, it is expected that with the introduction of the deposit system we will be able to collect and recycle twice as much plastic packaging as today, up to 90%. And beverage producers will be able to recover up to 90–95% of refillable glass containers to reintroduce them on the market,” said Stūrītis.

SIA Depozīta iepakojuma operators was established in June 2020. The owners of the company are SIA Alus un dzērienu iepakojuma savienība, SIA Coca-Cola HBC Latvia, AS Cēsu alus, SIA Cido grupa, AS PET Baltija, AS Aldaris, Latvijas Mazumtirgotāju biedrība (Latvian Retailers’ Association) and Latvijas Alus darītāju savienība (Latvian Brewers’ Association).

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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