Currently Sweden incinerates about 50% of its waste to make heat and energy – emitting carbon dioxide – some years even importing a large amount of trash from other countries. Its current government admits that this is not really recycling and that it takes less energy to actually recycle and reuse than it does to burn and manufacture a replacement from scratch.
We now read that Sweden’s ruling Social Democrat and Green party coalition is to submit proposals to parliament to slash the VAT rate on repairs to bicycles, clothes and shoes from 25% to 12%.
Take for example France, which, in 2015 passed a law outlawing planned obsolescence and requiring manufacturers to offer consumers free repairs or replacement parts on appliances up to two years after the date of purchase. Like the proposals in Sweden, the French law — Germany and Norway have similar laws on the books, as well — aims to curb the amount of waste entering landfills, keep money in the pockets of hand wringing-prone consumers and generate jobs in the appliance repair sector.
MNN notes that the Swedish coalition will also submit a proposal that would allow people to claim back from income tax half of the labour cost on repairs to appliances such as fridges, ovens, dishwashers and washing machines.
The hope is that the tax break on appliances will spur the creation of a new home-repairs service industry, providing much-needed jobs for new immigrants who lack formal education.
Sweden has cut its annual emissions of carbon dioxide by 23% since 1990 and already generates more than half of its electricity from renewable sources. But emissions linked to consumption have continued to rise.
Per Bolund, Sweden’s minister for financial markets and consumer affairs and one of six Green party cabinet members says that the new policies tie in with international trends around reduced consumption and crafts, such as the “maker movement” and the sharing economy, both of which have strong followings in Sweden, “There is an increased knowledge that we need to make our things last longer in order to reduce materials’ consumption,” he said.
The proposals will be presented in parliament as part of the government’s budget proposals and, if voted through in December, will become law from 1 January 2017.