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US schools buy millions of Chromebooks – three years later, the parts are ready for the trash – WhatsNew2Day


From the school desk to the junkyard: A recent report certifies that the Chromebook is unsustainable. (Image parts: Pixabay).

In 2020, the pandemic forced schoolchildren, students and teachers to work from home. Many US schools then decided to invest in Chromebooks – which took revenge almost three years later.

Because: the report Chromebook Churn According to the US Public Research Group Education Funds, many Chromebooks are already breaking (The Verge reported).

What’s in the report?

A particularly impressive part of the report sums up the misery in numbers:

“Assuming you doubled the lifespan of Chromebooks, that would save US taxpayers $1.8 billion.”

A second passage from the report highlights the environmental protection that longer-lasting Chromebooks would bring.

“Doubling the lifespan of Chromebooks sold through 2020 would reduce emissions massively. That reduction would be equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road for a full year.”

Fewer Chromebooks even less e-waste? Apart from financial and environmental aspects, there is the potential to significantly reduce the amount of e-waste generated.

To put it simply: If a few adjustments were made, used Chromebooks could end up in the device graveyard much later – and support school operations for longer.

The reasons for this can be summarized in:

  • Difficult to repair: Compared to Windows devices, for example, Google laptops are much more difficult to repair – and consequently end up in landfills more often.
  • Lack of availability of spare parts: In everyday school life, parts of the equipment are particularly affected, which like to bang on the school desk and break in the process. For example: screens, hinges and keyboards.
  • High cost of spare parts: A replacement keyboard, for example, is difficult to obtain on the one hand and highly priced on the other. Too high – because: With a price tag of almost 90 euros, a replacement keyboard costs almost half as much as a completely new Chromebook.
  • Google guarantees automatic updates for a period of 8 years. However, there is a time discrepancy: the warranty period begins as soon as the Chromebook in question has been certified by Google – and not as soon as the school actually holds the device in their hands. However, it can take four to five years for schools to buy and use Chromebooks.

By the way: Another Google report is from Linh; It’s about four useful features in Google Maps that make it easier to plan excursions and hikes.

Aside from the great lamentation, the report also offers concrete suggestions for action on how Google could make its Chromebooks more sustainable for school use. See below.

  • A rework of automatic updates – so that the full period of 8 years can be used.
  • Standardizing the components of all Chromebooks – and across all models
  • Linux as pre-installed operating system — which the report says would make Chromebooks easier to resell. The report states verbatim: Operating system choice is not only a consumer right, it would add years to the resale and reuse value of the laptop.

In the article by The Verge, Google spokesman Peter Du reacts to the report by the Public Research Group Education Funds. His statement underscores the following points that Google has already undertaken to make its Chromebooks more user-friendly.

  • Since 2020, Google has offered automatic updates for 8 years – on the other hand, the automatic updates were still capped at 5 years in 2016.
  • Regular software updates for Chromebooks: According to a Google spokesman, these add further functions every four weeks or improve device security.

What steps do you personally take to set up a sustainable fleet of devices – or do you throw smartphones in the garbage every day? What would Google and other major tech players need to do to ensure sustainability? Feel free to discuss it in our comments.

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