As much as we’d love to keep holding to consumers electronics as much as we could, there are times when they just can’t move forward any longer. Usually, that takes years of regular use but some manufacturers often give people reasons to upgrade to a new model sooner rather than later. And what better way to do that than by rendering a device completely useless the way Sonos is doing now with its so-called Recycle Mode.
To be clear, getting into this mode is voluntary but you might still be caught unaware unless you really know what you’re getting into. Making matters worse, however, is how Sonos is trying to market it as a way to reduce e-waste, something that environmentalists and workers are calling out as an outright light.
Sonos has started a program where owners can voluntarily “trade up” their old Sonos for a new one for a 30% discount. Of course, in order to make sure no one cheats, singing up for such a trade up initiates a 21-day countdown before the device enters Recycle Mode. Once it does, the device is practically bricked as it cannot be reactivated in any way whatsoever.
That may seem logical as far as the trade up program goes but it fails terribly at the “Recycle” part. The devices that users will be forced to throw away or take to a recycling shop may still be in perfectly good working condition otherwise. Furthermore, a Twitter user who claims to have worked at an e-waste recycler explains that it isn’t as straightforward as it may seem and that reusing is still a lot better than recycling.
Naturally, the company is getting no small amount of flak for this program but seems to be sticking to its guns at least for now. It does seem to imply that accidental activation of Recycle Mode can be reversed on a case to case basis but still believes that its program is sustainable and environment-friendly. It probably doesn’t hurt that it gets to make old devices obsolete and sell more products at the same time.