Value-added tax should be lifted from the cost of repairing televisions, vacuum cleaners and refrigerators to discourage people from throwing them away as soon as they stop working, the British government was told Wednesday.
The House of Lords Science Committee argued that with electronic appliances getting cheaper and labor more expensive, most householders are not prepared to pay the high costs of repairing goods.
As a result, more and more appliances are being dumped into landfills and replaced by the latest designs on the market.
"Waste could be reduced if consumers were encouraged to retain products for longer and repair them when necessary. Changes to the value-added tax regime may be required," the peers say.
Value-added tax, which functions somewhat differently from sales tax but affects the consumer the same way, is currently 17.5 percent in Britain.
Repairing a vacuum cleaner costs at least $100, roughly the same price as a new model. Repairs for televisions, computers and cameras are often more than $200 and fewer people now take out warranties to guard against breakdown.
Calling in a plumber or electrician to mend a fridge or washing machine can be even more costly.