Planning to gift yourself some gadgets? Consider these sustainable shopping alternatives – Texarkana Gazette

If you’ve already started your holiday shopping, there’s a pretty good chance there are at least a few gadgets on your list. And at least a few of them are probably for you.

A report published by the Consumer Technology Association last month predicted that Americans would spend $142.5 billion on tech this holiday season, mostly as gifts for themselves. (Loved ones like spouses were a close second.)

Even if your shopping is well underway, it’s still worth taking a moment to think about the technology you’re planning to buy yourself. Do you really need the flashiest new gadgets Big Tech is pushing this year? And if you do, do you need to hang onto them forever?

A pair of European start-ups trying to make it in the United States are pushing a more circular approach to buying technology. Berlin-based Grover wants you to think about renting your gadgets until you grow weary and send them back, while Back Market in Paris curates deals on refurbished gadgets to help quash the stigma that can come with buying used.

When you figure how many personal electronic devices wind up in landfills, these more sustainable ways of buying tech start to sound a little more appealing. Here’s what you should know about how these services work.

Rent and return

There are some people — myself included — who fall for the newest, flashiest gadgets, but ultimately don’t wind up using them frequently. For them, Grover might be a viable option.

Grover, which launched in the United States in September, offers a wide selection of gadgets, from gaming laptops to drones to its bread and butter, smartphones. But instead of buying them outright, Grover charges recurring monthly fees based on how long you want to hold onto those products.

“All the research that we’ve ever done shows that the U.S. is much more likely to subscribe to tech with Grover than any other European country,” said founder and CEO Michael Cassau. “Including the ones where we are really big, like Germany.”

If you eventually hold onto those products long enough to have paid full price for them, Grover asks you to pay one additional dollar as a symbolic gesture that grants you ownership. But that’s not really the point.

Grover’s main draw is that you have an easy exit strategy for the moment you decide you no longer need what you’ve been paying for. Just ship it back to the company — then, it gets cleaned, repaired or refurbished as needed, and made available to the next person who wants to give the product a go. Cassau said on average, devices like phones and laptops go out to subscribers and back three times before they’re decommissioned, though some products — like drones, which people tend to use for specific events — make the rounds as many as eight times.

On a lark — and because I wanted to see if Apple’s pricey AirPods Max were worth the splurge — I signed up for the service myself. The process was as simple as …….


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