Leipzig wants to take up the fight against electronic waste. As part of an exciting pilot project, the major Saxon city wants to provide financial support for its residents to repair defective electrical appliances. A positive outcome could ensure that the use of electrical appliances becomes more sustainable in Saxony and later, perhaps, throughout Germany.
Scientists accompany the pilot project
On the international day of e-waste, October 14, 2021, scientists and environmentalists once again sounded the alarm. After all, a new sad record was set last year. About 57.4 million tons of e-waste were produced worldwide. And the prospects for 2022 don’t look any better. After all, the weight is expected to increase again this year. Scientists and authorities in the city of Leipzig no longer want to accept this. A project has been launched in the major Saxon city that aims to tackle the root of the problem of e-waste generation.
To achieve this goal, they want to provide financial support for residents of the city to have their devices repaired. This is probably the most serious cause of e-waste. After all, over the years many people have got the idea stuck in their heads that buying new is more lucrative than the cost of repair. Leipzig itself calls this project “Umweltbonus.” The name could not be more appropriate. After all, the bonus has sustainability and climate protection in mind. The reduction of waste is not the only decisive factor here. On top of that, it reduces the purchase of new electrical appliances, which in turn also emit CO².
Maximum amount of 100 euros
The pilot project sounds really promising. However, it also needs to be put into a bit of perspective. After all, the city does not, of course, cover the total cost of repairs incurred. The support covers 50 percent of the costs incurred for repairs. Here, the environmental bonus relates to smartphones and household appliances. Since smartphone repairs in particular can sometimes be extremely costly, this sounds very lucrative at first glance. However, the financial support ends at 100 euros. Anyone who wants to have a display replaced on a current iPhone, for example, has to reckon with costs well over 300 euros.
The 100 euros may provide an incentive, but the residual costs for consumers are still very high. In addition to the aforementioned electrical appliances, the environmental bonus would also like to include textile goods, leather goods and bicycles. Here, however, the maximum amount of support is 50 euros. The scientists will soon be able to evaluate the extent to which the bonus has a positive effect on consumer behavior. The project, which began on May 20, is scheduled to run until August 31, 2022. However, it could also end earlier. After all, the money pot only includes 10,000 euros. If this is empty, the bonus program also ends.
Thuringia as a role model
The environmental bonus in Leipzig is not a nationwide novelty. In Thuringia, too, a similar project has already been carried out. Here, too, a maximum of 100 euros of the repair costs were covered. The feedback from the population in the neighboring state of Saxony was very good. For this reason, the program is to be continued this year. In order to be able to gather important findings in the long term, Saxony’s State Environmental Agency is collecting important data during the trial phase. These will not only focus on the frequency of use of the environmental bonus. On top of that, they want to monitor the infrastructure of the repair providers. It is possible that poor coverage of demand is one of the reasons for the low repair rate. We are curious to see what results can be drawn from the pilot project.