Sweden’s ruling Social Democrat and Green party coalition has introduced a range of new tax incentives designed to cut wasteful consumption and stimulate the repair industry. The measures will also create much needed employment opportunities – particularly for immigrants. The new legislation will reduce the VAT rate on repairs to clothes, bicycles, and shoes by 50%, bringing the government tax down from 25% down to 12%. Another tax break will allow you to claim a refund for half of the labour costs on repairs to major appliances such as dishwashers, fridges and washing machines. Per Bolund, Sweden’s minister for consumer affairs said “I think it will be a good incentive for people to buy high-quality products and repair them, rather than buying cheap products that will break down and then keep buying new ones.” He added: “I believe there is a shift in view in Sweden that we need to make our things last longer in order to reduce material consumption.”
Sweden is already a world leader in its approach to social and environmental policies. Carbon dioxide levels in the country have dropped 23% since 1990, and over half of its energy is generated by renewable sources. 99 per cent of Sweden’s household waste is either recycled or incinerated, and its forward thinking waste-to-energy program transforms over half its trash into electricity. This sustainable approach to energy and waste disposal has been so successful that Sweden has had to import garbage from other countries including the UK, Italy and Norway in order to fuel their generators.