Sonos ditches Recycle Mode after customer backlash

Sonos has said it will no longer force customers to “brick” or deactivate their smart speakers in order to benefit from discount offers following serious backlash from its customers, it has been reported.

According to a story originally reported on The Verge, Sonos is doing away with Recycle Mode – the company’s trade-up program that rendered old devices inoperable in exchange for a 30 per cent discount on a newer Sonos product.

Customers who own eligible legacy products can get the same discount, but they’re no longer required to permanently “brick” devices that still work, Sonos said.

Owners of older models can now choose what they do with them – keep them, sell them, give them away, or recycle at an e-waste recycling facility. Sonos is encouraging customers to perform a factory reset before trying to recycle.

The U-turn comes after the brand faced heavy criticism over the scheme, which angry have customers branded as “wasteful” across social media.

Some described Sonos’s Recycle Mode as an example of planned obsolescence – deliberately building a product with an expiry date in mind so that customers are forced to buy the latest version, so the U-turn is good news for Sonos users, who can continue to use their products but also good news for the environment as this should see fewer items going to landfill.

However, the problem of consumer electronics going to waste is on the increase. According to the Electrical Waste Recycling Group about 500,000 tonnes of electronics are recycled in the UK each year. But that’s a tiny proportion of the unrecyclable ‘e-waste’ going to landfill, the group says.