Green School Guide helps parents avoid “expired” laptops during back to school shopping

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BOSTON – Back to school shoppers don’t expect the new laptop they bought online to arrive past its “expiration date.” Yet, MASSPIRG found 8 recently expired Google Chromebooks that are no longer eligible for support available for sale on Amazon. This lack of support could render them vulnerable to attacks and unable to access secure websites such as MCAS. The consumer group’s new Chromebooks Green School Guide helps parents, teachers, and schools save money and the environment by choosing laptops designed to last.

“It’s hard for parents doing back to school shopping to make environmentally-friendly choices, especially when so many electronics are unsustainable,” said Lucas Rockett Gutterman, Designed to Last director with MASSPIRG. “Our Green Schools Guide helps parents and teachers choose laptops that are designed to last, and avoid buying ‘new’ Chromebooks that have already ‘expired.’”

The Green School Guide’s section on Chromebooks helps parents and teachers check the expiration date of laptops to ensure they’re getting a good deal, before they click “add to cart.” Longer-lasting laptops help the environment and save money. An April report by MASSPIRG, “Chromebook Churn,” found doubling the lifespan of these popular computers could cut emissions equivalent to taking 17,000 cars off the road for a year and save Bay State schools $34 million dollars, assuming no additional maintenance costs.

The guide also urges parents to join 10,000 petition signers telling Google to extend the life of Chromebooks. A June letter from parents and environmentalists asked Google to extend their “death dates” in order to support students and prevent e-waste. This summer, 13 models have expired, but Google could still restore updates to these laptops that otherwise work. They could also act to extend support for the 51 models expiring next summer to save schools money and prevent e-waste.

MASSPIRG’s Green School Guide also offers ways that schools, parents, and teachers can reduce emissions and pollution from transportation and electricity, stop using toxics, waste less food and extend the life of school supplies.

MASSPIRG also supports the passage of An Act Relative to the Digital Right to Repair, H360 & S142 filed by Representative Adrian Madaro and Senator Michael Brady which would give consumers and independent repair businesses access to the parts, manuals and tools needed to keep portable electronics working.