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Lenovo’s Aurora Project repairable laptops could be a major breakthrough in the war on e-waste

Lenovo’s Aurora Project repairable laptops could be a major breakthrough in the war on e-waste

Lenovo’s longstanding commitment to environmentally friendly technology is well established in the world of computing, with the company leading the way for more eco-friendly tech over the past decade.

From sustainable packaging to the recycled materials used in their laptops, Lenovo’s consistent efforts are hard to ignore. Now, Lenovo is now considering user-repairable laptops with Project Aurora.

Digital Trends got a preview of the proposed Aurora design, which promises an easy disassembly without the use of even a screwdriver. According to Digital Trends’ Fionna Agomuoh,  this kind of push for hardware sustainability will help shape the look and feel of future devices for decades to come.

Lenovo’s recent consumer study of repair preferences highlighted how important repairability is to consumers considering buying a new laptop. According to their study, the company found 60% preferred repairs to be done by manufacturers, but 20% preferred some sort of DIY option.

Sustainable tech

(Image credit: Lenovo via Digital Trends)

This research has prompted Lenovo to consider repairability options that could add benefit to consumers who want to be a little more hands-on with repairs and modifications.

Project Aurora, while still in the concept phase, is an exciting prototype that will hopefully make your DIY dreams come true thanks to easily upgradeable and replaceable components. The laptops manufactured under the Aurora banner will be ThinkPad models to start off, but it’s likely we’ll see Lenovo expand to its other laptop brands eventually.

How this could help reduce e-waste 

Eco-conscious design within the tech hardware space will be a vital factor in helping us tackle the looming problem of e-waste.

E-waste has reached a crisis point in recent years, with millions of unwanted tech products being dumped every day – either due to a natural conclusion of the device’s end of life or simple, wasteful design and lifestyle choices. According to data from The World Counts, we throw away the equivalent of 800 laptops every second.

The Agbogbloshie Dumpsite in Ghana is the largest e-waste dump in Africa and one of the largest in the world. An estimated 250,000 tons of electrical and electronic waste are dumped there annually, causing sickness and disease for the 40,000 people that live and work around the site. And that’s just one site; we generate about 40 million tons of e-waste annually, with just 12.5% of it being recycled.

Lenovo’s Aurora Project could inspire more companies across different industry fields to take charge and curb the habit of yearly hardware updates that require you to throw out your old system in favor of a new one, especially with laptops and phones. If you’re able to buy a good laptop and then modify and upgrade it as new parts are released, you’ll be able to hold onto that laptop for a lot longer.

Acer Vero and Framework laptops do already offer a similar kind of DIY modification, but they haven’t really seen widespread success as of yet – probably because of the high asking prices.

While sustainable tech is very necessary at this point in time, if eco-friendly devices continue to cost more than less sustainable options, we’re unlikely to see any significant change. This is the biggest hurdle Lenovo could face: making not just a sustainable laptop, but an affordable one.

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