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Sonos is facing a backlash for encouraging customers to get rid of their old speakers when there may be nothing wrong with them.

The US speaker giant offers customers a 30% discount on new products if they follow steps to recycle their old ones.

Following these puts the device in Recycle Mode, which means it will then be permanently deactivated.

Sonos said it wanted to encourage responsible disposal of electrical equipment.

But many took to Twitter saying it would be far better to allow people to resell them.

“Sonos’s ‘recycle mode’ intentionally bricks good devices so they can’t be reused,” wrote Twitter user AtomicThumbs.

He posted photos of five Sonos speakers which had been recycled through his company, Renew Computers.

“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.”

A Sonos spokeswoman told the BBC: “To participate in the Trade Up program and receive the 30% discount, a customer has to tell us in the app that they plan to recycle their old device. Customers can then redeem their discount at sonos.com or at a participating dealer. Once they have their new device, the customer will then be able to wipe their old device and deactivate it. Then it’s up to them either to recycle it locally, or they can return it to Sonos and we’ll recycle it.

“As part of offering a great incentive for long-time loyal customers, we also want to encourage responsible disposal of older devices. The best way to do that is recycling locally which is much more environmentally friendly than packing up and shipping heavy devices back to Sonos. That said, our goal is to keep old players out of the landfill, so if local recycling isn’t an option, customers are welcome to ship it back to Sonos at our expense with prepaid labels.”

But Stuart Miles, founder of technology news website Pocket-lint, said that while the idea was good, the execution seemed poor.

“If you create a simple product with longevity, people don’t buy new products, so the concept of trading in old Sonos speakers is brilliant, but just bricking it and asking you to send to a recycling centre doesn’t make any sense.

“It would be better to ask for proof that you have given it to a friend, which would be a much nicer way of doing it.”

According to the Electrical Waste Recycling Group, about 500,000 tonnes of electronic waste is recycled in the UK every year. But that is only a fraction of the “e-waste” that is piling up in landfill and in people’s homes.


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Thuyan

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