The portable computer or notebook has become an integral and even essential aspect of modern life. Year-in-year its price to the consumer falls while its performance grows, yet recent analysis suggest that pound-for-pound its environmental costs are amongst the highest of any product on the planet. In this paper we explore the market price of “sustainable” notebooks. Drawing on the framework of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ we postulate that as manufacturers shift costs away from the commons to comply with sustainability standards, the cost to the consumer will inevitably rise. We test our hypothesis by comparing the prices of EPEAT Gold certified notebooks with uncertified portable computers. The results are discussed, alternative hypotheses explored and further research outlined.