A whopper of a reduced repair cost but not a real-life whopper, an ad one

by Vivian Diep in April 8th, 2022

Austria leads the way on fixing our stuff

Tue Mar 22

Everyone hates when their old iPhone suddenly stops working eerily in sync with the release of a newer one. Turns out, this is a problem with many products including phones, gaming consoles, farming equipment, refrigerators, cars, and even hospital ventilators. In the U.S. alone, each family generates 176 pounds of electronic waste a year.

Globally, e-waste is growing 3-5% annually as a result. Europe found that extending the service life of washing machines, notebooks, vacuum cleaners, and smartphones in the E.U. by just one year would save 4M tons of carbon dioxide.

Austria’s reaction to these findings is making them a trailblazer for right-to-repair, seeking to reduce the country’s CO2 emissions. Here’s what’s happened so far:

  • In 2020, the city of Vienna launched a pilot subsidizing 50% of repair costs. Not only were 35,000 items repaired — saving 850 tons of CO2 emissions — but repair shops also saw an increase in business and, in response, a better quality of service from technicians.
  • Last year, the country as a whole reduced the tax for repair services related to bikes, shoes, leather goods, clothing, or household linen. This reduction made it more appealing to fix rather than replace items — for example, the cost to repair a laptop used to be $900, but a reduced tax and subsidies lowers that by over $200 making a repair a lot cheaper than a $1,300 replacement.
  • Now in 2022, Austria will launch a national program adopting Vienna’s approach. Financed by the E.U.’s pandemic recovery fund, the program is expected to subsidize 400,000 repairs through 2026.

Still, some are concerned the country doesn’t have enough skilled repair professionals to meet this increase in demand. A separate pilot program has already begun to address the concern through a training model that can ultimately expand beyond Austria and encourage repairs in more countries.

Below the Fold Bytes

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🎬 Action of the Week

Austria isn’t the only country pushing for the right to repair. In the U.S., action is still required at a state-by-state level. Check out Repair.org’s free map to not only see what the status of right to repair legislation is in your state, but to click and quickly contact your representatives to make your voice heard.


ASCII-ing About the News

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jgs \                             /

The burgers advertised in the ads truly must be bun in a million.

Art Credit: Joan G. Stark

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