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Proper sorting out of waste is key, Source: Riga Municipality

Riga applies to become a Zero Waste City

Riga applies to become a Zero Waste City

An insight into the process from a municipal point of view

The Latvian capital Riga announced last week that it has applied for the Zero Waste City program in order to improve its performance in the field of waste management and to help get on the track towards a more circular economy.

According to the current binding EU directives, Latvia has to achieve various goals in the waste management sector by 2035. Among these are: the separation of bio-waste, increasing the amount of municipal waste prepared for re-use and recycling, establishing a separate collection system for paper, metal, plastic, glass and textiles, and reducing the proportion of municipal waste landfilled. 

Taking into account that Riga generates the largest amount of waste in the Baltic country, the capital has the most direct impact on achieving the above-mentioned goals.

Reducing waste output is possible with some guidance

Fortunately, European municipalities can resort to the Zero Waste City Certification program and make waste reduction a well-thought-out and achievable process. This is an independent, third-party-certified certification standard based on a methodology designed to help municipalities meet and exceed EU and national waste management targets.

The Zero Waste certification process consists of four steps: expressing the candidate city's interest, commitment, implementation within two years and certification. Based on the number of points obtained in the certification, the city is awarded a certain level of Waste-Free City. After certification, the city reports on its progress, updates plans, and applies for re-audits.

"Many municipalities have significantly improved their waste management systems through this program. Clear goals and the way to achieve them, the help of experienced experts in solving problems and the opportunity to learn from others will help Riga become a city where things that are not needed do not end up in the landfill. It will be easier for residents to reduce and dispose of waste,” explained Mairita Lūse, Member of the Riga City Council and Head of the Waste Reduction and Management Working Group. 

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