Environmental concerns raised as Chromebooks' short lifespans contribute to mounting piles of electronic waste

Environmental concerns raised as Chromebooks’ short lifespans contribute to mounting piles of electronic waste

A new report from the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) called Chromebook Churn has found that many Chromebooks purchased by schools just three years ago are already breaking, creating electronic waste and costing taxpayers money. Although Chromebooks have always been a popular option for schools due to their relatively cheap prices, they have exploded in popularity during the Covid pandemic as kids have been doing their schoolwork from home. However, the report has suggested that Chromebooks may not be such a good deal after all.

One of the key issues highlighted in the report is repairability. Chromebooks in schools typically see rough use, and the lack of parts and expensive repairs have become a major issue. For instance, 14 out of 29 keyboard replacements for Acer Chromebooks were found to be out of stock, and 10 of the 29 cost $90 each – nearly half the price of some models. The report stated that “these high costs may make schools reconsider Chromebooks as a cost-saving strategy.” In another instance, HP only stocked power cords and AC adapters for one model, but no other parts.