The Riga City Council and three waste management companies have jointly established a common waste sorting guide for the convenience of inhabitants of Riga, which will help to focus more easily on sorting waste in the capital.
Questions and answers about waste sorting in Riga
On sorting plastic, paper and metal packaging and goods
Please dispose of this packaging in a municipal waste container as the material in these bottles is under pressure and may contain corrosive substances that interfere with its treatment
All types of packaging - including shopping and bread bags, as well as other bags - can be disposed of in the light packaging container, as long as they have not been in direct contact with liquid or oily
Please throw all packaging made from these materials into a plastic, paper and metal or lightweight packaging container. Waste manager at the sorting centre, they are separated from the recyclable material and used to generate energy in special equipment.
But other items - such as household goods, plastic containers, foam products, toys and other household items made of plastic - should not be thrown in a light packaging container, but placed in a household waste container.
Ice cream packaging can be thrown into a light packaging container.
It is difficult to separate shredded paper from other light packaging once it is on the waste sorting line, so please dispose of it in your household waste in the bin.
Cheques, receipts and similar financial documentation can be thrown in a lightweight container, but please make sure they do not contain sensitive data - name, surname, personal identity number, etc. information. In this case, you are kindly requested to shred such cheques and place them in a household waste container.
Laminated paper, such as glossy magazines, gift bags and other items, is made up of several layers of material and is therefore not recyclable. Please place such materials in a household waste container. In contrast, regular waste paper - newspapers and colour magazines - can be thrown in the light packaging container, where the pages are not glossy and laminated.
Yes, such materials can be thrown into a lightweight packaging container, unless the leaflet has a multi-layered glossy cover which is resistant to moisture and difficult to
Pizza boxes can be thrown into a lightweight packaging container if they are free of significant dirt and moisture. However, if the cardboard has become wet, greasy or dirty, the boxes should preferably be thrown away in the household waste bin as they are no longer recyclable.
Packaging for beverages, known as tetrapack, consists of several layers of materials - paper, plastic, foil, etc. - that are difficult to separate and therefore, more difficult to recycle, but a number of waste managers, including those in Riga, accept this packaging, so it can be thrown into a lightweight container in Riga - where possible, waste managers recycle it or use it for energy recovery in specially equipped facilities.
Egg packaging is already made from recycled paper, but paper can only be recycled once because the fibres are damaged in the recycling process, so it is no longer recyclable. However, you are encouraged to sort it and throw it in a light packaging container - the waste manager separates it from the rest of the packaging at the sorting centre and uses it in other ways.
Yes, such packaging can be thrown into a light packaging container, as the sorting centre separates these materials from the packaging and usually does not take up a large square footage.
The Riga Transport (RS) e-talon contains electronic information and a magnetic stripe similar to bank cards, store loyalty cards and other similar cards, so ideally, they should be handed over to RS service centres. If this is not possible, the used e-voucher should be disposed of in a household waste container, as it is not a recyclable material.
The main condition for recycling is that the waste must be clean. Wet, dirty paper, metal or plastic, and dishes with food leftovers are not recyclable Dirty and wet packaging can also damage the entire contents of the container, which may no longer be recyclable. All the previous sorting work becomes redundant, and the sorted packaging becomes ordinary household waste. Dirty, greasy or wet paper during the recycling process can affect the quality of the new product - the recycled paper can become flaky or even leak.
It is important to empty the bag so that the waste manager can see the composition of the container and make sure that it contains only suitable packaging for recycling or energy extraction. If there is non-compliant waste (e.g. household waste, glass) and it is more than 20% of the container's volume, the waste manager will take a photo and dispose of it as unsorted municipal waste or for a fee. If 80% of the waste in a container is sorted correctly, it is taken away free of charge, saving residents money.
In addition, experience shows that when sorted waste is thrown into bags, residents do not pay attention to the contents of the container and may make the mistake of throwing household waste into the sorted waste container in a hurry.
On sorting glass packaging
Empty glass medicine bottles can be thrown into a glass packaging.
Glass bottles and jars without caps can be thrown in the glass container, but not furniture and photo frame glass, crockery, window glass or perfume bottles, because they have additives that make the glass stronger and clearer, making recycling more difficult. If a glass container contains such an admixture and it is not detected in time, the contents of the container and even the entire load could be damaged.
Please dispose of this packaging in a municipal waste container, as perfume bottles usually have a different chemical composition to normal glass containers and are therefore badly recyclable.
It is preferable to separate the caps or corks and dispose of them in a light packaging container with plastic, paper and metal packaging, but it will not be an offence if the corks are screwed onto the packaging.
Nail polish bottles must be disposed of in a household waste container.
On sorting BIO waste
The decomposition time of leaves from thuja is much longer than for other organic waste because they are resistant to moisture. The addition of thuja makes it much more difficult to manage BIO waste processes.
Although unlaminated paper decomposes naturally, it takes longer to decompose than kitchen bio-waste, which makes it difficult to manage BIO waste processes, so please dispose of such paper products in your household waste container.
Labels do not need to be removed; they will be removed mechanically during the recycling of the glass packaging.
On sorting medical goods
Unusable medicines are hazardous waste that, if stored and disposed of improperly, can pose a serious threat to human health and the environment. Incorrect storage of unused medicines in households can be a risk factor for child poisoning or inappropriate use of medicines by seniors.
Unused or expired medicines should be handed in at a pharmacy, but before doing so, they should be removed from the outer packaging - the boxes - and the tablets, bottles, ampoules and ointment tubes should be put in a bag.
Please dispose of used medical masks in a household waste container. Please place your used Covid-19 test in a separate bag, which is usually already attached to its packaging, and dispose of in a household waste container.
These items are not recyclable and must be thrown in the household waste bin.
About sorting bulky waste
Bulky waste cannot be disposed of in any of the containers and must be requested separately with your building manager if you are an apartment building resident, or the waste contractor if you live in a private house, and must be placed in the place indicated by the waste contractor on the specified collection days.
Please note that Christmas trees are also considered bulky waste and should not be placed in household waste or BIO containers. Waste managers organise special Christmas tree removal campaigns in January and February.
As a priority, we ask you to consider whether the textiles can be washed or repaired for future use, donation or sale. Precise textile product sorting guidance available from https://www.riga.lv/lv/atkritumu-skirosanas-celvedis#tekstila-skirosana-infografika and on the website of the waste manager indicated on the container. Wet, mouldy, smelly, dirty, worn, torn or otherwise unusable clothes, damaged or unpaired shoes, home textiles and accessories should be disposed of in a household waste container. Such contents can damage the rest of the textile container and make textile management more difficult. We also encourage you to explore the possibility of donating your discarded home textiles to animal shelters, with prior agreement, and to be creative and create new things from your unwanted clothes, such as rag dolls and toys for your children. Some textile traders also accept poor-quality textiles, so there are also opportunities to drop off such material. This should be agreed in advance with the trader.
Yes, clothes with a button that has been removed can be placed in a textile recycling bin.
Garments with a frayed hem may be placed in a textile sorting container if the fray is no more than 10 cm.
Please assess the condition of your toys. Clean, functional and immediately usable toys can be donated to charity or sold. Please return dirty or damaged toys washed, repaired and diverted for re-use. Toys must not be placed in textile or packaging sorting containers. They are household items that can be disposed of in a household waste container. If the toy is electrical, e.g. battery-powered, it must be sorted in specialised electrical sorting boxes, e.g. in commercial outlets, before the batteries are removed.
Mattresses and large carpets are bulky household waste and must be ordered from your waste contractor in accordance with the price list.
No, textile sorting containers are only for the separate collection of products allowed in the sorting instructions. In or near such containers is not allowed placing of household items such as crockery, books, child car seats, electrical appliances, etc., even if they are in good working condition. For donations of household items, please contact the charities in advance to agree on the type and type of items they accept. If household items are not suitable for donation, they should be disposed of according to their type and existing sorting instructions.
If the textile sorting container is overflowing, residents are invited to inform the waste management company indicated on the container, and to not place the prepared bags near the container, but take them to another textile sorting point near you.
Textiles are free-flowing, so to avoid damage and soiling when placed in or emptied from the container, and to protect them from exposure to precipitation, moisture, it is best to place them in a container in a tightly tied plastic bag. Please do not overfill the textile bag, as it will be uncomfortable to put a bag that is too heavy and large into the container.
The products collected in the textile sorting container go to a sorting centre where they are sorted according to the type, material and quality of the product and for further use. Most textiles are recycled, ensuring their continued use. Textile recycling opportunities in the region are currently limited. Textiles that cannot be reused end up in landfill. Efforts are underway to find a recycled use for each of the items collected in these containers, including recycling options, so that as little as possible ends up in landfill.
On sorting and management rules
The sorting centre of the waste management company manually sorts all waste, as the sorted material from residents is not of a quality to recycle it or to recover energy. A distinction is made between recyclable packaging and packaging that is not recyclable but is used for energy recovery, as well as packaging that is neither and unfortunately ends up in landfill, including material that is damaged by unscrupulous sorters - for example, a full carton of milk or juice is dumped in a sorted waste container, the contents of which have then damaged everything that was sorted correctly.
The sorted composition of the container shall only be thrown into the waste car with municipal waste in situations where the waste manager finds in the sorted composition significant admixtures - waste that is not suitable for recycling or energy recovery, which will not be able to be separated at the centre of the line.
In addition, waste collection machines that take sorted packaging are visually identical to those that take unsorted municipal waste, which can give the impression that all the waste is packed into one machine. But this is not the case, as sorted packaging is collected on routes specially designed for the collection of such packaging.
In all cases where sorting containers have been found to contain inappropriate contents, waste managers inform building managers or owners so that awareness-raising on correct sorting is carried out and so that situations do not arise in the future where sorted waste with admixtures has to be disposed of as municipal waste.
These situations create myths that waste is not worth sorting. On the contrary, it is worth sorting, but it is important to do it properly so that the waste manager can always take the sorted container to the sorting plant and send it for recycling instead to landfill where it is disposed of.