Right to Repair

Stop the Chromebook Churn

Tens of millions of Chromeboks are destined to become E-Waste shortly, so we're calling on Google to double the life expectancy of Chromebooks.

Peter Mui | Used by permission

A 2021 Education Week survey found that the vast majority of schools are using one computer per student. Chomebooks are a favorite choice because they are relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, Chromebooks have a built in “death date”.  The average Chromebook will receive security updates for only four years after purchase, and many will stop getting those updates and become nothing more than trash after even fewer years.  Chromebooks past their death date also can’t access secure websites including many state testing websites. Unfortunately, Chromebooks also have shortened useful lives due to lack of access to competitively priced repair and other mechanical designs that make repair and reuse challenging.

In 2021, 31 million Chromebooks were sold. As the operating system death dates arrive, those Chromebooks will become e-waste, which is dangerous, toxic, and hard to deal with. E-waste is responsible for over 70% of the toxic material in our wastestream, and linked to cancer, fertility problems, developmental delays and more. At the same time as those Chromebooks become e-waste, our schools will have to make large purchases of new devices. This hard limit on Chromebook lifespan is bad for us, bad for the environment, and straight up wasteful.

So, we’re calling on Google to double the life expectancy of Chromebooks and make them easier to refurbish for a second life. Extending operating system security updates could save Alaska schools $5 million. Doubling the life expectancy of Chromebooks will reduce e-waste, reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and save our schools money.

Read all about Chromebook Churn in PIRG’s new report. 



See the Campaign

Show More