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Blue Planet and Green Ideas |  “Repair Bonus” to reduce waste

Blue Planet and Green Ideas | “Repair Bonus” to reduce waste

France has just introduced a “repair bonus” for electrical appliances, in order to extend the life of the equipment and reduce waste. Should Quebec do the same?

Since mid-December, the French can take advantage of a “bonus” for repairing their electrical appliances, amounts ranging from €10 (about $14) for a kettle or toaster to €45 (about $65) for a computer.

Thirty kinds of devices are currently qualified, under the “Waste Control Law of Circular Economy” Creation of a repair fund that granted 410 million euros (about 489 million treasures) for six years. Others will be added in 2024 and 2025.

Funding for this procedure is provided by manufacturers, through environmental organizations responsible for end-of-life management of devices.

So French consumers can go to one of the top 500 certified repairers and benefit from a fixed discount on the drone or hood. The number of certified repairmen will be gradually increased: 1,500 are expected by 2023 and 10,000 by 2027.

Good lever

It is estimated that 10 million repairs are carried out each year in France, with about 1.5 billion pieces of electrical and electronic equipment in circulation. The goal is to increase the volume of repairs by 20%.

“It’s really a good lever,” says Sophie Bernard, a professor at the Montreal Polytechnic who specializes in the circular economy. “Should Quebec have such a thing? Absolutely,” she says.

“Our system is, at the moment, too young to fix,” laments Professor Sophie Bernard. According to her, it is necessary to recognize the magnitude of the problem and adapt accordingly.

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An Équiterre study on access to repair in Canada, published in October, reports that less than 19% of the Canadian population has had their broken appliances and electronics repaired, a rate that rises to 25% in Quebec.

“Manufacturing these products is resource-intensive and their short life is problematic,” Equieter points out. Their repair allows to extend their useful life and thus reduce the environmental, social and economic impacts associated with their manufacture. »

Barriers to repair for consumers that Équiterre has noted include the perception that products are beyond repair and the costs of repair. Quebec repairers want better access to parts and manuals for the machines they repair, as well as financial incentives to promote that choice among consumers.

According to Julian Guzman, co-owner of Flash Repair in Montreal, it’s the lack of information and high costs that keep people from getting their devices repaired more often. “If France creates this stimulus measure to help people, it will definitely help,” he said.

Repairman says the vast majority of devices can be repaired, but people don’t always realize this. They may also prefer to buy new products because of the ubiquitous sales during the holiday season.

Better inform consumers

In addition to the “repair bonus”, a “repairability index” is gradually being applied in France to certain equipment to assist the consumer in his choice at the time of purchase.

“This is a powerful tool because it sends signals to everyone,” says Sophie Bernard. On the one hand, the consumer can make a more informed decision, and on the other hand, the producer has a monetizable incentive to improve the repairability of their products.

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In the wake of its study, Équiterre rightly recommends making reforms easier to use in Quebec, in particular through “environmental specificity measures” and the creation of a “sustainability index”.

When asked if Quebec intends to follow in France’s footsteps, the cabinet of Environment Minister Benoit Charette simply replied that the question “will be studied when the time comes.” The operation will take place “in consultation with our partners, including Recyc-Québec”, specifies press officer Melina Jalbert.

Recyc-Québec, for its part, notes that it “has been actively pursuing reform for a few years”. “We will be happy to cooperate with various ministries and organizations,” said company spokeswoman Veronique Boulanger, if a regulatory or legislative initiative is launched in this direction.

With Agence France-Presse