When dealing with ripped jeans, broken appliances, and shattered cell phones, it’s often cheaper to buy new ones than repair them. Why fix the stitching and replace the heels on your fall boots when you can buy a brand new pair for less? This is a major contributing factor to consumerism and waste, which is why Sweden is working to reduce taxes paid on repairs and increase them on items that are unrepairable. According to this Co.Exist article, the proposed legislation would reduce regular taxes on clothes, bicycles, and shoes from 25% to 12%. Despite a $54 million price tag, Sweden will make this up with a new chemical tax bringing in an estimated $233 million. France is also making strides, according to another Co.Exist article, after passing a law in 2015 that ensures manufacturers will label products with information on spare parts. They are also required to offer free repairs or replacements for up to two years after the purchase date. With the rise in maker culture, crafting, and the sharing economy, it’s no surprise these sustainable initiatives have taken off.
It’s interesting to see how far Sweden has come over the last 20 years. Check out this 1996 Ikea ad campaign encouraging consumers to throwaway perfectly good household items and replace them with more modern Ikea designs.
Shoemaking in the open air museum Gruberhof in Groß-Umstadt, Germany. Image via Wikimedia Commons.