Baltic Approaches to Handling Plastic Pollution under a Circular Economy Context

Seminar to Introduce Deposit System in Valmiera City Festival

01 March 2024
The seminar "Introduction of the deposit system for cups at municipal events", attended by entrepreneurs from the catering services sector and other stakeholders (together 22 people), was held in Valmiera, where the introduction of the deposit system for cups at the Valmiera City Festival already this year was discussed.
Technical details

Every year, the City Festival is a highly anticipated event not only among Valmiera residents, but also among people from the region, Latvia and even its closest neighbours, the Estonians. In 2023, 68.4 m3 of waste was collected during the City Festival. This has a big impact on the environment, and every morning during the city festival weekend, a lot of waste can be seen not only in the bins but also on the ground.

The aim of the Valmiera Municipality is to have a festival without litter. It is understandable that such a goal is rather a utopia, but it allows for a vision of the future for both the event organisers and the visitors. If the municipality chose to replace disposable plastic cups with paper cups, the amount of waste produced would not change. On the other hand, if we introduce a deposit system for cups, the amount of waste generated will be significantly reduced, as it is the drinking glasses that make up a significant part of the waste collected during the city’s festivities.

During the seminar, experts from the Interreg project “Change(K)now” from Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences talked about the activities planned in the project and about the use of different materials for containers.

A representative of the Riga City Council also shared her experience on how the deposit system was organised at the Riga Christmas Market 2023. For the event, cups with a special design were developed and visitors liked them so much that about 50 % of the cups were not returned. A binding regulation has been approved in Riga, which stipulates that from January 1st 2024, the organiser and participant of a street vending event and temporary street vending is prohibited from selling drinks in non-reusable cups.

Participants asked questions about the introduction of the deposit system, its functionality and other unclear issues. It is important for businesses to work quickly, especially at events with a large number of visitors, and it is therefore a burden to explain to customers what a deposit cups is and what they need to do with it once they have used it. The City Festival organising team will launch a communication campaign early on so that visitors to the event can already familiarise themselves with the system, and there will be information posters, an audio file or video tutorial, and support people on site if needed.

The event took place within the Vidzeme Innovation Week. The discussion was organised by the Valmiera Municipality Government within the framework of the Interreg programme project “BALTIPLAST”, experts from the Interreg programme project “Change(K)now” from Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences and Riga City took part in it, a representative of SIA “Rent A Cup” told about the deposit system, SIA “Valmiermuižas alus” shared its experience.