Sweden has only gone and done it again – made the rest of us look bad on the environmental front! This week saw Sweden’s ruling Social Democrat and Green party coalition submit a proposal for introducing tax breaks on repairs to everything from bicycles to washing machines so it will no longer make sense to simply get rid of old or broken items and buy new ones. They propose to achieve this by lowering the rate of VAT applied to the professional repair of these items from 25 percent to 12 percent. Another incentive would offer tax refunds to those who fix bigger items such as dishwashers, washing machines and ovens. There’s also a plan for a tax on new computers and appliances to cover their environmental cost. The parliament will vote on all the proposals in December.
Sweden’s actions are brave – especially in a time when it is often cheaper to buy a new product than fix your old one. It’s no secret we are a wasteful society. We have become used to buying more than we need and throwing away what we have become bored with. However, times are changing. We are becoming more aware of the impact of our buying decisions and looking for more ways to make our purchases last longer.
If you have been thinking of ways to reduce the amount of stuff you’re throwing out then you’re in luck – October has been declared National Reuse Month in Ireland!
NATIONAL REUSE MONTH
National Reuse Month is a new waste prevention initiative organised by the three Regional Authoritiesto raise awareness about the benefits of reusing everyday items and materials that would otherwise go to waste. Organisations such as The Regional Waste Offices, Community Reuse Network Ireland, the Irish Charity Shops Association, Free Trade Ireland, Recreate Ireland and the Rediscovery Centre are all getting involved to help us get better at reusing.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Make a Pledge
Head over to the Community Reuse Network’s website and make a reuse pledge to commit to one of the simple actions they have identified.
Share on Social Media
Sharing is caring. Share your ideas for reusing across social media using #reuse16.
As part of Reuse Month, lots of great events and workshops will be held around the country where you can learn how to give old items new life. You can find event listings across the following websites:
If you have an old laptop lying around that you don’t need any more, check out Camara Education who process donated computers for refurbishment and reuse in schools around the world. After refurbishment, these computers are shipped to one of Camara’s Education Hubs in Africa or Ireland, and they are used to improve educational outcomes of students from disadvantaged communities in Kenya, Zambia, Ireland, Tanzania, Lesotho and Ethiopia.
Get a Reusable Cup
Probably the simplest action you can take. Go get yourself a reusable coffee cup and reduce the huge amount of disposable coffee cups going to landfill every day. Even the ones you think are recyclable, probably aren’t.
Upcycle Your Clothes
Everyone has unworn clothes in their wardrobe (some probably with the tag still on!) With brilliant shops like The Zip Yard, there are lots of opportunities to repurpose some old clothes into brand new outfits.
Buy and sell used items
There are lots of sites online to buy and sell used items. Some of the best include:
Do you have any more tips for reusing? Share them in the comments below are through social media using #reuse16.