Sweden is paying its citizens to fix their belongings instead of throwing them away
BY: QUENTIN STUCKEY
Buy. Use. Throw away. Buy again. The typical consumer cycle is a vicious one – not only does it produce copious amounts of waste and contribute greatly towards environmental issues, but it is also hard on our wallets.
Sweden, once again, has become the leader of innovative ideas. Recently the city announced that it would give tax breaks to those who opt to have their damaged belongings fixed by professionals, instead of throwing them in garbage and buying new. Items such as clothes, bicycles and large appliances are part of the new initiative.
This is accomplished through what is known as “value added tax” being reduced to 12 per cent on such belongings as clothes. People are able to claim back part of their income tax thanks to receiving repairs on their damaged goods. These tax breaks are expected to add up to $70 million dollars lost in tax revenue, but according to Notable, the country currently has an $800 million dollar surplus so a loss in tax revenue isn’t necessarily detrimental.
The deputy finance minister of Sweden stated: “the tax break is actually quite substantial since most of the cost of repair is actually labor, so it can really make quite a big difference.” This new tax break allows for higher quality shopping on the part of Swedish consumers, as it is easily affordable to have these items fixed. This will in turn, hopefully lead to a decrease in consumers buying as cheap as possible and throwing things out after a short period.