The modern world tends to favor cheaper goods that are typically thrown away once they break or wear out, which creates a “throw away” culture. Since many products are made as cheaply as possible to keep costs down, there isn’t much of a demand for high quality when it comes to many products, at least not in an affordable price range. Sweden is taking an approach that may actually help change that though. They are offering tax breaks for those who repair their goods, such as washing machines, bicycles, refrigerators, and even clothes. The hope is that it will reduce the environmental impact of throwing so much away, and that it may also improve the quality of goods by making repairs cheaper and more attractive than simply tossing things aside to buy new ones.
The tax breaks are estimated to initially cost the government 54 million in lost revenue, but with new taxes on toxic chemicals going into place around the same time, the expectation is that it will more than make up for the initial loss, and many feel that other benefits will outweigh the short term loss of tax revenue. By making the cost of repairing goods more affordable, and with most repair shops being local, it is likely that this incentive will help create jobs for small local shops, and as most economists can tell you, more jobs means more tax revenue generated. By aiming the tax breaks at helping average citizens and small businesses, they could see more growth in their already strong economy and all while they reduce their environmental impact as well. This seems to be a win, win, for the Swedish people, and repairing things when they break or wear out, is a step towards more sustainable living.