Inspiring: Valuing Repair

By Regina Connell.

One of the more inspiring things to cross my screen was this little piece in Ecouterre. What’s inspiring? That it’s not just maker making more responsibly and consumers thinking about consuming more responsibly but about governments making it more attractive to do the right thing.

Making it easier to take care

Making it easier to take care

This post discussed how ballsy Sweden is considering creating incentives to repair, not replace.

Ecouterre reports that “In a bid to reduce materials consumption, the country’s ruling Social Democrat and Green party coalition has proposed tax breaks on repairs for everything from bicycles to footwear. In plans drawn up for the fall budget, Swedish officials suggested dropping, from 25 percent to 12 percent, the value-added tax on getting these items fixed. A second proposal will allow Swedes to claim back on their income tax up to half the labor costs of fixing appliances such as washing machines, fridges, dishwashers, and stoves.”

At a time when other governments are encouraging consuming, spending, and yes, wasting to boost their bottom lines, we applaud what Sweden is doing.

We love how it’s about supporting consumers who want to repair, not waste, but the incentives to support and even create the next generation of repairers (the shoe repair people, the furniture restorers, the sewing machine refurbishers, the bookbinders, the tailors, the luthiers, and yes, even the lonely electronics repair people who take the time to fix things that were not ever designed to be fixed).

It takes a system to make smart change happen: the producers (makers, et al), the consumers, and yes, a government that creates the incentives when sheer willingness to do the right thing isn’t quite enough.

The key is to make sure that there’s an adequate base of people who CAN repair things. and to make sure that people know who’s in that base.

Stay tuned for what happens January 1, 2017. Fingers crossed that this measure goes through.

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