A survey of Latvia’s residents has revealed that 94% tend to give second chances: not only to people (78%), but also to electrical appliances (38%).* However, people also trust second-hand electrical appliances less than second-hand clothing or used cars. Meanwhile, one in four of those who did not believe in giving second chances said that it was that they had been disappointed in the past. So, on 7 February, to improve this experience and help used electrical appliances get a second chance, the ‘Eco Baltia vide’ environmental management company will open the Lab! electrical repair shop, located at Stūraiņi in Rumbula, aiming to repair some 200 devices every month.
According to the State Environmental Service, an average of some 30,000 tonnes of various electrical appliances are offered on the market in Latvia every year. Every year sees about 20,000 tonnes of disposed electrical appliances, mostly TVs, washing machines, and small electrical and electronic devices. Many of them are damaged or no longer needed by their owners, but with a little maintenance, they could get a second chance and a longer life.
There are at least two good reasons for repairing electrical appliances. For one, repairing rather than building new appliances saves natural resources, some of which are rapidly depleting. Electrical components also contain many harmful substances which, if released into the environment, break down and pollute the air, soil, and groundwater.
Another point is that it’s a great way to support other people, as repaired devices will be donated to charity or sold at a better price than new ones. Repairing a damaged product can also be very good for its owner’s budget, as it is much cheaper than rushing to buy a new device.
"Surveys show that people would not object to using repaired appliances if they are guaranteed to be safe. At the same time, there is a certain lack of trust in repaired equipment. We seek to help build that trust! Habits do not form overnight, and people need to gradually learn and adopt a responsible attitude towards the circulation of electrical appliances in their daily lives. Sorting and recycling electrical devices in Latvia is a relatively new, but very worthwhile tradition, and I hope that providing quality repairs, which is one of the most efficient ways to recycle, will be a useful step towards developing it further," 'Eco Baltia vide’ board chairman Jānis Aizbalts said.
The survey has revealed the various reasons for why people in Latvia do not believe in second chances for electrical appliances: they do not want to be disappointed (15%), they have had bad experiences in the past (26%), they are not sure that the trust they have shown will pay off (34%), and for some, it is also a matter of principle (19%). The new repair shop will try to dispel all these preconceptions and will accept electrical appliances handed over to ‘Eco Baltia vide’ via its various partners, as well as equipment dropped off by people at the handover stations at the Akropole Alfa shopping centre in Riga and the Business Garden business centre in Mārupe. Each device will be assessed and those that can still be repaired and given a second lease of life will then be sent to the repairs centre. The repaired devices will be donated to charity and sold. They will also be available on the website www.lietovelreiz.lv, while next year, ‘Eco Baltia vide’ will open a dedicated shop for used and refurbished electrical appliances.
Photos from the opening: https://failiem.lv/u/p9v55vv5v3
* The survey was conducted by Norstat in January 2024, interviewing 1008 residents of Latvia aged 18-74.