ralph waldo cybersyn on Twitter: "Here's a Twitter search of people who have contacted Sonos because they unintentionally put their devices into Recycle Mode, or changed their minds, only to be told that Sonos refuses to stop the irreversible bricking of

Sonos states on their website that "sustainability is non-negotiable," and that they design products to minimize impact, but I work at an e-waste recycler and have demonstrable proof this is false. Sonos's "recycle mode" intentionally bricks good devices so they can't be reused.

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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.

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This is part of Sonos' "Trade Up" program, which gives customers a discount on new devices bought from Sonos. Putting a fully functional device in recycle mode starts an irreversible 21-day countdown, after which it's rendered permanently useless.

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Anyone even remotely familiar with recycling can tell you the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle." Recycling takes energy and, while it saves materials, reuse is always better. Sonos is throwing any claimed environmental friendliness in the trash in order to sell more speakers.

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This is the the most environmentally unfriendly abuse and waste of perfectly hardware I've seen in five years working at a recycler. We could have sold these, and ensured they were reused, as we do with all the working electronics we're able. Now we have to scrap them.

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Apple has activation locks and Meraki has licensing requirements, one for anti-theft and the other to sell software. This is the only time I've seen a company explicitly brick its own hardware in the name of "sustainability" and "encouraging recycling."

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To add insult to injury, there are complaints on Sonos' support forums from people who've managed to accidentally put their devices into recycling mode, and been told by Sonos support that there's no way to stop the countdown, forcing them to buy new devices after 21 days.

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This whole situation is screwed up, especially since it's actively harming the environment in direct contravention of their stated values, and Sonos is the only manufacturer I know of that does it. Who the hell came up with this idea?

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From what our eBay guy can tell, the bricking isn't even in hardware; you can't recover it if you're good with JTAG, because it's blacklisted as "recycled" on their servers. There's nothing stopping these things from working except Sonos says they can't.

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