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Sonos abandons ‘Recycle Mode’ on old speakers after much backlash

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Back in October, Sonos introduced a new ‘trade up‘ program that offers existing Sonos users a 30 percent discount to buy a new speaker if they recycle an eligible older model.

Problem was, qualifying for the program required users to put their old devices in a new ‘Recycle Mode’ which would permanently prevent the devices from working.

This did not go over well. While it seemed like a fairly innocuous move at first glance, it meant that users were limited in how they could dispose of the device. Sonos has now decided to do away with the controversial program, according to The Verge, allowing users to get rid of the speakers however they see fit.

The models eligible for the trade-up program are Sonos devices that will soon stop receiving updates due to aging hardware, but that doesn’t mean they stop working. Previously, Sonos recommended you take your old speakers to a certified e-waste recycling center. That’s fine, but what if you just want to give the speaker to someone else? Surely that’s a more eco-friendly option than just getting rid of a perfectly functioning speaker.

Devon Wilson, an employee at an e-waste recycler, brought this issue to light in a viral tweet in December. In one example, someone brought in five perfectly functional Sonos Play:5 models that could have simply been sold or given to someone else.

Someone recycled five of these Sonos Play:5 speakers. They’re worth $250 each, used, and these are in good condition. They could easily be reused.

Unfortunately, the person who recycled them put them in recycle mode.

— “lifestyle” insurrectionist (@atomicthumbs) December 27, 2019

This is process is no more. Instead, Sonos will simply tell you to factory reset the devices. It appears you can do whatever you want with the old speakers and you will still be able to get the 30 percent deal.

It’s the wiser, more eco-friendly move. For more on which devices are supported in the trade-up program, check out Sonos‘ page here.

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Published March 6, 2020 — 01:02 UTC

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