Today’s consumeristic world teaches and encourages everyone to buy, use and then throw away at the first scratch or when a slightly newer version of the object appears on the market. This is the case of electronics, low-quality plastic goods, paper and so on.
Sweden, on the other hand, is a country that apparently has a population with a high civic conscience. Their government has recently announced that it provides tax breaks on repairs to clothes, bikes, refrigerators and washing machines, so that people are encouraged to recycle more.
VAT, aka “Value Added Tax” is the one that’s going to get reduced from 25% to 12% on bikes and clothes. Those repairing white goods (yes, you read well) can even claim back the income tax.
That is happening because white goods are guilty for being made of a lot of harmful chemicals. While these taxes will lower the country’s raw income by some $54 million in lost taxes, the state will charge a new tax on producing white goods. Despite all this, the government has an $800 mln budget surplus.
In an interview to weforum.org, deputy finance minister Per Bolund, the man behind the audacious project, explained how the country already implemented several greenhouse gas reducing schemes, like the $1-$2 congestion tax in Stockholm – which did miracles with the aim of lowering the town’s pollution.
Moreover, the tax breaks would benefit the local economy, because the repair shop will be local.
Oh, and because we’ve been talking about Sweden… that’s the country that has no trash – they found a way to incinerate their garbage, produce energy and recycle a large part of the CO2 produced in the process.
And meanwhile, in the US… but that’s another story we all know.