CREACE project researchers Dr. Carl Dalhammar and Dr. Jessika Luth Richter worked with Master’s students at the IIIEE to investigate the state of the repair sector in Sweden and policies that could further promote repair.
This research in this report investigates policies for repair across the EU, highlighting some of the more ambitious and innovative approaches stimulating Circular Economy strategies like repair. Policies examined range from the high level Circular Economy Bill in Scotland to specific consumer laws and repair certification in France, warranty laws in Finland and municipal policies in Flanders. The report considers what can be learned from these policies and initiatives that can be relevant for other national contexts, including Sweden.
Sweden is often considered a leader when it comes to recycling, particularly of electronic product and electrical equipment waste. However, it is not seen as a leader when it comes to reuse and repair of these same products. The research presented in this report includes and interview study of Swedish repair organisations finding their perceptions about drivers and barriers for repair, and possible policies that could further promote repair. The low cost of new products was a significant barrier to making repair competitive in a high labour cost context. Design of products was also seen as a barrier needing to be addressed by policy. Interestingly, many repairers interviewed felt their own business had enough customers and some were reluctant to promote expansion of the repair sector if it meant more competition in their market.
The Swedish government has been among the first to deploy a new policy to stimulate more repair – a tax reduction for repairs of certain products. This report explored the impact of this tax cut policy, finding that while repairers of some products noticed an increase in repair, others did not. It was noted that the tax reductions were often small in relation to the product purchase price or the total cost of repair and therefore its impact could expected to be limited for many products and in the context of the many other barriers to repair.
Overall, the report gives a good overview of the state of repair policies in the EU, the repair sector in Sweden, and suggestions for moving forward with policies for repair.
The full report can be downloaded here.