Comparison of packaging collection systems in Latvia
The research carried out and the results of the Master Thesis “Comparison of packaging collection systems in Latvia” give an overview about level of the development of packaging collection systems, as well as possible ways to improve their performance.
In Latvia, there are two packaging collection systems implemented for management of recyclable waste in different towns. In this study, sorted packaging collection system is described (advantages, disadvantages, costs of performance, the amount and quality of the collected material), followed by the corresponding description of the mixed packaging collection system. The systems are compared and ways to upgrade both systems are offered.
During the course of the thesis the author collected necessary information about the packaging recycling systems in Europe and Latvia, obtained the necessary details and information from the staff of the Ministry of Environment of Latvia and waste handling organizations and held a social enquiry. The information obtained during the research reveals data on the flow of the waste packaging and its components, as well as the activity of the residents in the recycling process. Data analysis made it possible to analyze the costs of integrating and maintaining the systems, as well as to propose the measures which can help to improve them in order to make their performance more effective and socially acceptable. The figures and information obtained during the research can be used for upgrading of the Waste management plans in the regions of Latvia or for a successful introduction of a new collection system in a town or region.
The results show that at the moment it is not possible to clearly state which one of the two systems is better for Latvia because performance of each system depends on a list of factors, such as social, e.g. residents’ involvement in the process, and economical factors. A conducted survey revealed that residents are more likely to participate in a recycling process if they do not have to sort packaging by types. Data analysis showed that there is a substantial difference in transportation and sorting expenses between these two systems, however this difference is too small to make any of the systems profitable for recovery of paper and plastic material. Only collection of glass material proved to be economically profitable in both systems.
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