A new report suggests Chromebook e-waste is piling up due to short lifespans


The humble Chromebook was launched in 2013 and was well-received by many in the tech community. The idea was sound: produce an affordable, useable, and easily maintainable laptop for people and institutions on a budget. The Chromebook checked all the boxes and continues to check them even today.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Schools have been particularly fond of Chromebook as they can purchase them in bulk without worrying about the cost versus a PC or Mac. But according to Engadget, a new report filed by the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) claims Chromebooks purchased only three years ago create a lot of e-waste.

Schools are a harsh environment for a Chromebook; let’s be honest, kids aren’t exactly careful with borrowed equipment. According to PIRG, repairability is a paramount issue, and the lack of parts and expenses make Chromebooks more expensive than the initial costs.

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. “These high costs may make schools reconsider Chromebooks as a cost-saving strategy,” the report states. In another instance, HP only stocked power cords and AC adapters for one model, but no other parts.


PIRG goes on to say that Chromebooks also have built-in “death dates” where software updates cease to continue. Once those software updates have stopped, the user cannot access secure websites.

“Chromebooks aren’t built to last. Professional repair techs tell me they’re often forced to chuck good Chromebook hardware with years of life left due to aggressive software expiration dates,” iFixit’s director of sustainability Elizabeth Chamberlain told PIRG. Those expiration dates also make it a challenge for schools to resell their devices. PCs and Macs may have a higher purchase price, but they can easily be resold after a couple of years and can get updates for longer periods of time.


You can read more of the report entitled Chromebook Chum on the PIRG website. The report’s takeaway is that while a PC or Mac may cost more upfront, they are often more repairable, have more extended software support, and are easier to resell than Chromebooks. It’s an interesting report, and the arguments are worth considering.

What do you think of this report? Can anything be done to make these laptops last longer? Please share your thoughts on any of the social media pages listed below. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network. And subscribe to our RUMBLE channel for more trailers and tech videos!


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