Photo by Christopher Bulle

Fix a faulty zipper? Or patch up a rip in a jacket? If you live in Sweden, these simple acts of repair could result in a lower tax bill. In a bid to reduce materials consumption, the country’s ruling Social Democrat and Green party coalition has proposed tax breaks on repairs for everything from bicycles to footwear. In plans drawn up for the fall budget, Swedish officials suggested dropping, from 25 percent to 12 percent, the value-added tax on getting these items fixed. A second proposal will allow Swedes to claim back on their income tax up to half the labor costs of fixing appliances such as washing machines, fridges, dishwashers, and stoves.

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Photo by Billie Grace Ward


“We believe that this could substantially lower the cost and so make it more rational economic behavior to repair your goods,” Per Bolund, Sweden’s minister for financial markets and consumer affairs, and one of six Green party cabinet members, told the Guardian.

While the measure is expected to cost about 740 Swedish kronor ($86.4 million) in tax revenue to implement, Bolund estimates that slashing the VAT will reduce the costs of repairs enough to stimulate a new service industry in Sweden, boosting employment.

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The government has also budgeted 43 million SEK ($5 million) on a campaign to encourage people to repair their goods more often.

The idea, Bolund said, isn’t necessarily about consuming less but consuming better.

“I believe there is a shift in view in Sweden at the moment,” Bolund said. “There is an increased knowledge that we need to make our things last longer in order to reduce materials’ consumption.”

If greenlit, the proposals will become law from January 1 next year.