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on the environment


SOER Country

Waste (Latvia)

Why should we care about this issue

Waste Waste
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011


Waste management has acquired priority significance in the environmental protection policy as one of the instruments for sustainable use of natural resources. The main directions in waste management are the development of polygons and collecting systems for non–hazardous municipal waste and the development of systems for the collection and treatment of hazardous waste. At present, 10 non-hazardous waste polygons and two polygons for hazardous waste have Category A permits under the IPPC Directive. Biogas collection and use for energy production from biodegradable wastes and sludge is set as one of the priorities in Latvia.

GHG emissions from the waste sector in 2008 were 916.88 Gg CO2 equivalents; which is about 7.7 % of total GHG emissions.


Figure 1: Total GHG emissions from the waste sector in CO2 equivalents (1000 t)

Source GHG National inventory report 2010, Latvia 


The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

Until 2006, the total waste quantity grew significantly because the economy also grew very quickly. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, quantities were more or less stable. At this point in time, during an economic crisis, quantities should be less in the coming years (2009, 2010). Changes in hazardous waste quantities mostly refer to classification changes of these waste types.


Figure 2: Generated wastes in Latvia (1000 t)  

*Includes all non-hazardous wastes (industrial and municipal).

Source: Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre

At present, the general treatment options for waste are waste disposal in landfill. Ten non-hazardous new waste polygons and disposal sites have been opened in recent years. This means that risks for the environment and human health have been reduced very significantly. The largest pollution threats for waste disposal come from old, shut down dumpsites, because many of them are not yet properly closed, although waste management plans foresee that this is done in the next few years. Waste recovery increases year by year.



Figure 3: Disposed on land and recovered wastes in Latvia (1 000 t)

Source:  Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre


Hazardous wastes are mostly recovered or exported. At present, waste streams such as pesticides, lead batteries and PHB equipment are exported for treatment. In Latvia, used oils, as well as chemical and medical wastes are treated.

Data on packaging waste has been collected since 2003. Starting in 2006, reports for the European Commission on packaging waste have been prepared.





Paper, cardboard





66 213

40 456

82 140

19 914

98 115


21 244

11 246

50 524

6 993

51 090



68 317

39 498

115 065

16 776

83 467


24 188

8 999

66 149

8 382

24 571



66 788

38 460

83 204

12 421

63 059


35 424

11 090

55 339

8 502

26 197

Table 1: Generated packaging waste (t)

Source: LV reports to EC according Decision 2005/270/EC 


In 2007, 323 123 tonnes of packaging waste were generated in Latvia, of which 132 289 tonnes or 41 % was recovered. Using material recycling, 127 923 tonnes (40 %) of packaging waste generated in Latvia in 2007 were recycled.

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

The quantity of generated non-hazardous and hazardous waste types is estimated on the basis of data from the state statistical survey ‘3-Wastes’. The statistical survey on wastes must be completed by all enterprises with permits on polluting activities (Categories A and B, and C - in which acknowledgement is obligation to report on wastes) and all enterprises with permits on waste management operations.

It may be concluded that waste generation is growing along with the slight increase in GDP.


Figure 4: Comparison between GDP and generated wastes

Source: Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (waste generated), CSB (GDP)

GDP is taken in year 2000 comparable prices from the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB). The population is decreasing annually in Latvia. The population has an impact on the total quantity of waste, but does not have as great an effect as GDP.

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

A national waste management plan and, possibly, regional waste management plans, will be prepared covering the period from 2013 to 2020. Currently, no projections have been made for the generation of municipal waste but, nevertheless, already current waste management plans contain targets for waste management until 2020:


  • to decrease the amount of landfilled biodegradable waste in accordance with the Landfill Directive;
  • to reach the packaging recovery and recycling targets in accordance with the Packaging Directive;
  • to reaching the targets for recovery on end-of live vehicles in accordance with the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive;
  • to reach targets for collection and recovery of waste electric and electronic equipment in accordance with the WEEE Directive;
  • to reach targets for collection and recycling of waste batteries and accumulators.


These targets will also remain as priority areas until 2020, as they are crucial for reaching general waste management targets, as set out in the Waste Framework Directive:


  • the establishment of separate collection systems for paper, plastic, metal, and glass;
  • ensuring reuse and recycling of at least 50 % of household and similar waste by weight;
  • ensuring reuse, recycling and material recovery of at least 75 % of construction and demolition waste by weight, including backfilling.


Special attention will be paid to waste prevention and minimisation.

Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

It is planned to prepare and implement the National waste prevention and minimisation programme which will be an integral part of the National Waste Management plan.

Until 2020, it is planned to carry out activities to improve the separate collection system for municipal waste as such systems are crucial for achieving any waste management targets. This activity would also help to achieve the targets for the recycling of packaging waste, as well as the targets for collection and recovery of batteries and accumulators and waste electric and electronic equipment.

Another important activity for Latvia will be the improvement and further development of systems for collection, composting or anaerobic treatment of biodegradable waste.

The development of waste recycling and recovery capacities will be a priority area.

In order to provide for the safe disposal of collected waste which is not suitable for recovery, there will be improvements to landfills and final closures of non-compliant dumpsites. The construction of waste incineration or co-incineration facilities will be considered, if possibilities exist.



The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
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1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100