How renting technology in Germany can save you money

Dealing with old tablets, laptops, computer mice and chargers that you don’t know what to do with? You’re not alone - across Germany and Austria, hundreds of thousands of expats carry the accumulated ‘tech junk’ of the last few years with them.

How renting technology in Germany can save you money
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Together with tech subscription company Grover, we look at how you can break the ‘tech junk’ cycle and still enjoy all of the gadgets you want.

Whatever your interests, whatever you do, we’re surrounded by technology. Whether it’s an interest in photography, gaming or flying a drone, that technology accumulates, as gadgets become obsolete. That’s not including the cables, chargers and other bits of kit that come with any tech purchase, as well the innumerable boxes, bags and wrapping!

Ready to use technology in a more mindful way? Rent for three months and receive 90% your first month by using the discount code THELOCAL90 on the German or Austrian site

A load of old junk

It’s not like you can simply throw them away either. Germany and Austria both have very particular regulations when it comes to the disposal of electronic waste, as many of the materials used are only recyclable under certain conditions, or pose an environmental hazard, such as rechargeable batteries. The German Umwelt Bundesamt, or Federal Environmental Office has estimated that each of us produces around nine and a half kilograms of ‘tech waste’ each year, and this deadweight just sits there and accumulates dust, taking up space around us and not giving us the satisfaction it could.

You could donate these goods to charitable organizations, but most of the time, they don’t have the need for such obsolete technology and you would only be shifting the burden to someone else. You could sell your old gadgets via an internet site like Ebay Kleinanzeigen, but this can often cost you more money than you would realistically make, when you factor in all the steps needed to list an item and make a sale.

Stay up to date and reduce ‘tech waste’ – rent for three months and receive 90% off your first month by using the discount code THELOCAL90. Click here if you’re in Germany, or here if you’re in Austria

Photo: Grover

Better living through (flexible) technology

Keen to clear your ‘tech junk’ drawer and find a way to enjoy all the different technology you want? This is what makes Grover such an exciting arrival on the scene. The German startup from Berlin has introduced flexible renting of technology across Germany and Austria, with over one hundred fifty thousand active subscriptions running on the platform thus far and growing. In fact, renting through Grover has been introduced at Saturn and Mediamarkt branches across Germany.

For a reasonable payment each month, you can choose to rent a phone, laptop, gaming console or other gadget. At the end of your chosen rental plan, you can either opt to send it back for an upgrade, a different product or you can buy it outright, making it your own forever.

This flexible renting model has significant benefits for users, and especially international expats. Renting on a per month basis often works out cheaper than buying a device outright that you’ll inevitably stop using at some point, and means that a device can be returned when you choose to go home, rather than take something that may not work or take up space in your luggage.

Renting and usage-based consumption are also mindful and far-sighted financial choices that allow us all to keep up to date with our preferred technology, and to stop paying for that technology when we no longer use it. This helps prevent impulse buys that leave us out of pocket and lugging around yet more useless cables and batteries.

Want to try out some more tech? Don’t buy and saddle yourself with more ‘tech waste’. Rent flexibly through Grover and save money and space. Use voucher code THELOCAL90 to receive 90% off your first month, when you rent for three months on either the German or Austrian sites. 

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Nachtruhe: Which night time chores can get you fined in Germany?

Tempted to turn on the washing machine or hammer in just one more nail to that cabinet in your German apartment? Make sure you check the clock (or calendar) first.

Nachtruhe: Which night time chores can get you fined in Germany?

If you’re a night owl in Germany, it might serve you well for partying into the wee hours at clubs in Cologne or Berlin.

But it certainly won’t win you any plus points with your neighbours. In fact, if you’re keen on using your evening energy to mow your lawn or even vacuum your flat past 10 pm, you could be slapped with a heavy fine.

In Germany, there are numerous regulations to uphold the Nachtruhe (night time peace and quiet). If you break them, you could get at best an angry knock from your neighbours to a Bußgeld (fine) of several thousand euros.

We break down the top, often inadvertent offences you can commit in and around your own four walls in the late night and early morning hours.

First, here are the following rest periods to abide by in the Bundesrepublik:

  • On Sundays and public holidays, the rest period (Ruhezeit) applies all day.
  • From Monday to Saturday, Nachtruhe applies from 10 pm to 6 am.
  • Some municipalities may enact their own regulations, which may stipulate a midday rest period.

READ ALSO: Ruhezeit: What you need to know about quiet time in Germany

When is hammering and drilling strictly verboten?

Hard-hats, hammers and nails at a university in Thuringia

Hard-hats, hammers and nails at a university in Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Martin Schutt

Especially in residential areas, noisy manual work such as drilling or hammering after 10 pm can be considered a noise nuisance.

Loud manual work should therefore always be carried out during the day or at the permitted times. In serious cases, fines of up to €5,000 may be imposed.

Am I allowed to turn on the dishwasher or washing machine at night?

In principle, it is permitted to run the dishwasher or washing machine after 10 pm as long as the appliances do not cause excessive noise. Modern appliances are often designed to operate relatively quietly and do not have a loud spin or rinse cycle.

However, if you have an older appliance with a particularly loud spin or rinse cycle, you probably will want to show consideration for your neighbours and not operate loud household appliances during the late evening and night hours.

What about mowing your lawn in the evening?

You may be restricted from mowing your lawn on Sundays and at night in Germany. Photo by Daniel Watson on Unsplash

This week Germany is in the midst of a late summer heat spell, with temperatures reaching over 30C. We understand the temptation to mow your lawn late at night when it’s still cool out, but it’s still not a good idea to do so past 10 pm. This is because the mowers produce a noise level of 78 to 96 decibels and could disturb your neighbours.

Although there are devices with an eco-label that are quieter, they may only be used on weekdays from 7 am to 8 pm. 

After 10 pm and on Sundays and public holidays, noisy gardening is strictly taboo and can be punished with a fine of up to €50,000.

What about just a good ‘ol party?

If you’re quite literally downing your tools to kick back and relax with a beer in your Hof in the late hours, that’s usually okay if you give your neighbours advance warning.

In Germany, we recommend posting a notice in the common areas a week before giving advance warning that things could get a little louder unless you don’t also want to count the Polizei among your visitors.

READ ALSO: It’s legal to trim your neighbour’s tree (even if he doesn’t want you to), Germany’s highest court rules