IHBC’s climate signpost: ‘In Austria, the Government Pays to Repair Your Stuff’

Taking the ‘right to repair’ one step further, a Viennese repair bonus is going national — and keeping thousands of items out of the junkyard.

… And then came the Vienna repair bonus…

reasonstobecheerful writes:

Sepp Eisenriegler loves giving second chances: To the defunct electrical appliances awaiting repair or refurbishment, the hundreds of unemployed people he’s trained as skilled repairers over the decades and even the two rescue dogs that follow him devotedly around R.U.S.Z., the repair and service center he founded in Vienna in 1998.

It wasn’t always an easy road, but he’s noticed a sea change in the past couple of years. It started with Fridays for Future: “Attitudes started to change. We saw more and more young people in our weekly repair café and as clients at our repair shop.” When the pandemic hit, business increased again: “People were uncertain about the future and decided to save money by having things repaired instead of buying them new. At the same time, everyone had too much time and started cleaning out their garages and attics, finding all sorts of old things with sentimental value that they wanted to have repaired.”

And then came the Vienna repair bonus. The city of Vienna started the Reparaturbon as a pilot in 2020 as a way to promote repair and support local businesses. Through the scheme, which has since concluded, 50 percent of repair costs were subsidized by the city, capped at €100. The bonus, which covered anything repairable, from clothing and electronics to bicycles and furniture, was a success: Over 35,000 items were repaired through the scheme, saving 850 tons of CO2 emissions. Other Austrian cities had tried repair bonuses in the past, but the beauty of the Viennese model was in its simplicity: while previously customers had to pay for the repair in full and then jump through bureaucratic hoops for reimbursement, they can now simply pay half of the cost, with the rest reimbursed directly to the repair shop. In January 2021 Austria also reduced the tax (VAT) on repairs of bicycles, shoes and clothing.

Now a national repair bonus, which will kick off this April, will adopt the same approach focusing on E-waste, which is the fastest growing waste stream in the developed world…

The Austrian repair bonus, which is expected to run until 2026, is financed by €130 million from the EU Covid-19 recovery fund, and is expected to subsidize 400,000 repairs…

[Chloé Mikolajczak, a campaigner for Right to Repair Europe]… “I think it’s going to be a great year for repair.”

Read more….

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