Sonos Ends Controversial ‘Recycle Mode’ Aspect to Its Trade-Up Program

Sonos will stop putting old smart speakers in what it calls recycle mode, a controversial part of the company’s trade-up program that rendered old devices inoperable in exchange for a 30 percent discount on a newer product.

Under the original Recycle Mode, when customers chose to participate in the 30-percent deal, their older speakers and devices would start an irreversible 21-day cycle, with the speaker losing all functionality at the end of the cycle, explains Engadget.

Despite Sonos saying this process was to ensure that customer data was being erased on these recycled products, the company faced heavy criticism over the policy.

Now, anyone with a “legacy” Sonos speaker can get a 30 percent discount on a new one simply by validating the serial number of their device. No need to brick your perfectly good speaker or send it to Sonos. Just as the program should’ve worked in the first place.

The company’s initial response to backlash over the program — which doesn’t seem environmentally friendly in the slightest — was to say that it had to brick old speakers because future versions of Sonos software might render them incompatible. It’s obviously understandable that someday old speakers will no longer be able to keep up with new software but that still didn’t explain why the company felt a need to destroy working products today.

Unfortunately, the company is still moving forward with its plan to end software updates for older speakers come May. But unlike recycle mode, it’s totally reasonable that they’d stop dedicating resources to older devices eventually.