Austrians flock to take advantage of repair subsidy

BERLIN (AP) — The Austrian government said Friday that a program to encourage consumers to repair broken electrical devices instead of throwing them away has far exceeded expectations in its first year.

The Environment Ministry says more than 560,000 repair vouchers worth up to 200 euros ($220) each were redeemed since the program was launched a year ago.

Authorities had initially expected 400,000 vouchers to be redeemed by the beginning of 2026.

The program allows consumers to take defective devices such as smartphones, laptops, coffee makers or dishwashers to one of 3,500 locations and have half the cost of the repairs covered by the voucher.

The European Union is currently working to introduce a “right to repair” for certain devices to help reduce the vast amounts of electronic junk produced across the 27-nation bloc every year.