Twitter user and recycling centre employee (@atomicthumbs) has revealed that Sonos’ recycling program bricks its old speakers and renders them useless, even if they’re in perfect condition.
The way that Sonos’ Trade Up program works is that users pledge to recycle their old speakers for 30 percent off of a new speaker or audio component. This is all fine if the speaker is broken, but if it still works, it’s not a great option.
To verify that users are actually recycling their old speakers, Sonos makes the user put the speaker, they plan to retire in ‘Recycle mode.’ This enters the speaker into a 21-day irreversible countdown that bricks it and blacklists it from Sonos’ home audio servers. This process also wipes all of your personal information from the speaker.
Anyone even remotely familiar with recycling can tell you the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle." Recycling takes energy and, while it saves materials, reuse is always better.
Sonos is throwing any claimed environmental friendliness in the trash in order to sell more speakers. pic.twitter.com/4yL4XKZfvQ
— site specific carnivorous occurrence (@atomicthumbs) December 27, 2019
Sonos’ support page also mentions that you can only recycle older first-generation items like the old Play:5, the Connect: Amp and Connect.
Browsing through Kijiji shows tons of Sonos devices for sale and a lot of the first-generation products are sold for more than the 30 percent discount Sonos offers. As a result, it makes more sense to resell your old products instead of bricking them because it’s greener and more economical.
While this issue does seem like a huge misstep on the company’s part it’s an issue that could be easily remedied. It might even be better for Sonos if customers could resell their old speakers while still getting a discount. Ideally, the person who buys the old speakers would be introduced to the company and will become a customer in the long run. It’s also worth mentioning that 93 percent of all Sonos speakers sold are still in use.