Health

Sweden Proposes Tax Breaks For Fixing Items Rather Than Throwing Them Out

In an effort to reduce waste, Swedish citizens would get a tax break for repairing everything from appliances to bikes and shoes.

What can Sweden do to become more sustainable? They’re already one of the most sustainable countries in the world. Half of their waste is converted into energy. Because of their efforts, Sweden has cut its annual emissions of carbon dioxide by 23 percent since 1990.

But that’s not good enough for Sweden.

In an effort to cut back on emissions from the country’s own consumption and as well as those from manufacturers in other countries, Swedish lawmakers sent proposals to parliament on Tuesday that would slash the VAT (value-added-tax) rate on bicycle, shoe and clothing repairs, according to The Guardian. The current VAT rate is 25%; the proposed deal wants that rate to drop to 12%. In addition to the tax rate decrease, individuals would be able to write off half the labor costs of repairing washing machines, fridges, ovens and other home appliances from their annual income tax.

Instead of buying a new item when an old one breaks, these tax breaks would make it cheaper for consumers to repair them. Essentially, all repair costs in Sweden would receive about a 12% discount from the original cost for repairs. For instance, according to one of Sweden’s ministers behind the plan, a 400 SEK ($47) repair would cost only 350 SEK ($41) after the discount, saving the consumer about $6.

Not only would this tax adjustment change consumer behavior, the tax break on appliances will hopefully create a new service industry. If more Swedes want their appliances repaired, more workers are needed to repair their products, creating new jobs for everyone.

The tax breaks will keep Sweden more sustainable by keeping their landfills cleaner and their economy growing thanks to a new service industry.

Since these tax breaks are tied into the country’s annual budget proposal, parliament will vote on passing the budget in December, and the laws will go into effect starting January 1, 2017. Stay tuned to see what happens.

h/t Mental Floss