Sonos contributing to electronic waste


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Sonos have recently started a trade in promotion in the UK with partnered retailers where you can trade in a Connect or Connect:AMP and receive a 'specified' discount off of a new Sonos AMP.

 

They then modified the trade in promotion to be where you can trade in any Connect, Connect: AMP or (old gen) Play:5 for 30% any new Sonos product.

 

I get that they are trying to sell more +/ new products but then contributing a massive amount to electrical waste. In their T&C's that they send to retailers they give a £15 credit (recycling fee) for the disposal of the old product. The old product is to strictly not be used or re-registered again or the retailer will be punished or loose their partnership.

 

 

I think it's disgusting that Sonos are playing a huge role in generating unnecessary waste. All these units are perfectly fine and working but are to be disposed of for no reason other than that Sonos want to make money. Yes Sonos are giving a £15 credit for recycling but retailers won't and aren't recycling, they'll throw away in general waste and make an extra £15 profit. Sonos are doing nothing to track correct (recycling) disposal of old devices and nothing to make sure retailers are being responsible.

 

Sonos really should have thought about this trade in more. I will now be extremely hesitant to purchase any further Sonos products in the future.


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114 replies

. Some bits that have a high resale value are pulled but for the most part they are melted down.

 

We don't have the kind of car compression yards of the kind made famous in the Breaking Bad episode of getting rid of the RV - as far as I know. Cars do get passed through a few owners, and this scene of seeing abandoned ones in cities is new, but is growing.

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Abandoned cars are a gold mine of valuable stuff, they sell for very nice prices here in the US. There are a host of organizations begging for you to donate your old car to be scrapped out. Some bits that have a high resale value are pulled but for the most part they are melted down.

Our local recycle option for electronics and hazardous waste works pretty hard to recover metals and other valuable bits like rare earths. They use the recycle profits to offset the hazardous disposal costs.

 they boast of a fairly high recovery rate on electronics from their phones.

This would be an interesting subject to pursue outside of this thread, starting with the question of how the recovery rate is computed - by value or by volume/weight.

In India, since we are a poor country, there is a significant business of recycling electronics that involves refurbishing to sell in markets that need lower price points for the goods. But that can't continue beyond a cycle or two of such use - I have no idea how the product is dealt with at true end of life. Seeing how many old abandoned cars I see on city streets, I shudder to even think of that subject.

You can make the choice as to whether you want to avail yourself if any of these choices, or not. 

One does need to assess though if the choices are presented in a way that things are not as “free” as they appear to be - in general we know that capable marketing is able to make a mockery of free will in very large majority of cases. In this case, does Sonos say anywhere that if you do not choose to recycle while there is usable life in the kit, you can also do so later when there isn't this life because of a Sonos software upgrade? Is this a legal requirement - no. Is doing so being a good corporate citizen? Many would say yes. Of course the cynics would question including the word “good” in the same sentence as the word “corporate”.

Then there is the perhaps unintended consequence on the downward effect this may have on the market for used gear, if the fear of getting a recycled product weighs on buyers. Or even, as someone suggested, being accused of selling a recycled product may take a seller to the recycling route.

I did say that there is no knowing how much is the absolute effect of this in increasing waste, and that in the bigger picture, this is vanishingly small regardless of what the size of that effect may be even in the worst case.

But messaging is important, and I feel that Sonos could have done a better job of this than they have.

I’ve heard of several companies that will take electronics and pull them apart, and recycle piecemeal both the metals and the plastic casings. Apple is one company that certainly does this with their metals, if memory serves, they boast of a fairly high recovery rate on electronics from their phones. I’ve read of other startups and ongoing concerns that provide this service as well, in many tech blogs, news programs in the Silicon Valley area, and in other new sources. 

I suppose it all depends on where you recycle your product, and even if you choose to. I don’t see Sonos as any different than Dell, IBM, Samsung, LG, Apple, or any other electronics company that brings out “newer, faster, better” equipment, other than Sonos ha at least made the attempt to raise awareness by garnering a commitment to responsibly recycle the product, something I’ve not seen from many companies. 
 

And the fact that all of this is purely voluntary, and only if you choose to take advantage of the 30% discount and upgrade your device…It is entirely up to each individual to decide whether they want to do this or nit. There’s no forcing of the process, you choose to take advantage, or you don’t. You have the option of boxing up your product and sending it to Sonos, or finding a local recycler to give it to. There’s just options. You can make the choice as to whether you want to avail yourself if any of these choices, or not. 

Does anyone know what exactly these recyclers do other than making for one large landfill instead of many small ones? After all, this isn't like recycling plastic bags or aluminium cans that can be brought back to some intermediate stage to be then again turned into a useable product.

Given the above, if the buying of Sonos gear in the used market has now become riskier as explained by Stanley and Mike above, then it can be said that Sonos is contributing to electronic waste via this program, by facilitating a reduction in the usable life of its products. How much that contribution is in absolute terms no one can say; it may be insignificant - or not so.

In the big picture of how much energy/resources are consumed for products that are directly trashed before consumption like food, or via not using them for their available service life like what happens with so many consumer durables, this can’t be significant for sure, but it may not be good messaging in the present environment.

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A seller that gets ripped off by a buyer recycling and returning a device for credit has an option of working with Sonos BUT everything I have seen is that Sonos requires a copy of a formal police report before they will act.

One more reason I’m glad I recycled rather than trying to sell my old gear. That is of course on top of the more than I paid for it new rebate credit. :-)

@pwt: right, Stanley explained it a little earlier today.

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 since buying used now is way more risky than it was before the Recycle program. 

Why?

Simply because one now runs the risk of buying a device that was disabled as part of the upgrade programme. It’s an additional factor that wasn’t there previously.

@upstatemike : Lol. That is the next level of deviousness. There is this thing called the law of unintended consequences that may come into play here, with this program, though there is no knowing how large an effect it will have on the used market.

Buying used is more risky as folks are now selling traded gear as fully functional. You might be able to get a refund but the scammers are likely to try to avoid that. There were folks selling broken gear before so it is just additional risk, not something new.

Got it, thanks. I had not thought of that first part, not devious enough to have realised it:-).

I guess there is also a risk for sellers as somebody could buy a used unit from you and add it to their system then put it into recycle to get a voucher and then demand a refund claiming it was already in recycle when you sent it. Maybe Sonos would help resolve this by verifying who actually got the recycle credit but I don’t know how much they want to get involved in used equipment sales.

Buying used is more risky as folks are now selling traded gear as fully functional. You might be able to get a refund but the scammers are likely to try to avoid that. There were folks selling broken gear before so it is just additional risk, not something new.

Got it, thanks. I had not thought of that first part, not devious enough to have realised it:-).

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Buying used is more risky as folks are now selling traded gear as fully functional. You might be able to get a refund but the scammers are likely to try to avoid that. There were folks selling broken gear before so it is just additional risk, not something new.

The sound and performance of the Connect is incredible, that hasn’t changed. The fact that the older devices can’t support the modern Sonos experience doesn’t change their sound or performance from being incredible. 

Since except in the wonderful world of marketing there really can't be anything audibly better than “incredible”, thank you Ryan for a realistic Sonos assessment of the sound quality of Port v Connect, notwithstanding the fact that the Port has perhaps a DAC of newer design with better measured specs.

 since buying used now is way more risky than it was before the Recycle program. 

 

 

Why?

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I understand wanting a guaranty here, but it's just not something that can be promised right now. I’ll let you know if there’s any update to share in that regard. Currently, there aren't any Sonos players so far that have reached the end of support, and that includes 15+ year old Sonos players. Ultimately, capabilities and longevity are determined by hardware limits, so if you want something that you know won't have issues for a long time, the Port is what you're looking for. We can't promise a specific amount of years a new Connect will keep getting updates, but we do plan to continue to support all of these old devices for as long as we're able to.

 

Regarding the message on our “Last Chance” page, it says “Enjoy incredible sound and performance with earlier versioned speakers, soundbars, and components.” The sound and performance of the Connect is incredible, that hasn’t changed. The fact that the older devices can’t support the modern Sonos experience doesn’t change their sound or performance from being incredible. The modern experience is about new features, such as AirPlay 2, which older devices can’t support. But we don’t need to go down the rabbit hole of arguing semantics or marketing messages here. I’ll pass along your thoughts to the web team though so they can look it over.

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That bold part above regarding support is incorrect. I’ll make sure the team has the right information going out. 

A new Connect purchased today from our website will continue to get updates and support, though it will be eligible for trade up, since all Connects are. That said, for people making the choice between a Connect and a Port, they’re still deciding between the new technology and the old generation. On paper, the two have mostly the same functionality today, no optical on the Port, and it support AirPlay 2 which the Connect doesn’t. However, Port has far better components in regards to networking, computing, and processing audio. It’s a brand new product that has been fully upgraded, which does make it more future proof than the older hardware of the Connect.

No offense but this is almost the same non response I received from your Twitter bot. And doesn't contradict what your CS said.

I want to buy a Connect but it is impossible to get accurate information. 

How long will I get updates for if I purchase a Connect today? 

A. 1 year

B. 2 years

C. 3 years

D. 4 years

E. 5 years

F. More than 5 years

Also a suggestion,  should change the last chance product page for connect as it says that it delivers incredible performance and sound. You are quoted in the Verge as saying that recycle eligible products are incapable of providing the modern Sonos experience. This seems contradictory and misleading.

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That bold part above regarding support is incorrect. I’ll make sure the team has the right information going out. 

A new Connect purchased today from our website will continue to get updates and support, though it will be eligible for trade up, since all Connects are. That said, for people making the choice between a Connect and a Port, they’re still deciding between the new technology and the old generation. On paper, the two have mostly the same functionality today, no optical on the Port, and it supports AirPlay 2 which the Connect doesn’t. However, Port has far better components in regards to networking, computing, and processing audio. It’s a brand new product that has been fully upgraded, which does make it more future proof than the older hardware of the Connect.

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The Port is missing features that I would like. I think I would have been happy with the Connect. But since it will be bricked in a couple of years not so much...If Sonos was upfront about when updates will stop it would be an easier decision especially since buying used now is way more risky than it was before the Recycle program. 

There are other options and I'm very still happy with my Amp.

 

 

Nobody has even intimated the Connect “will be bricked in a couple of years” or “it won't be getting updates for much longer”, except for you, an anonymous forum poster claiming Sonos support said it.  That hearsay is contradicted by what actual Sonos support personnel have stated on this forum.

Sorry to have triggered you but you need to keep up. Sonos can feel free to correct their CS if this is wrong. If you look at my other post I quoted what support said which imo is a lot less alarmist than "much longer". But whatever they seem pretty silent on this which speaks for itself.

 

The Port is missing features that I would like. I think I would have been happy with the Connect. But since it will be bricked in a couple of years not so much...If Sonos was upfront about when updates will stop it would be an easier decision especially since buying used now is way more risky than it was before the Recycle program. 

There are other options and I'm very still happy with my Amp.

 

 

Nobody has even intimated the Connect “will be bricked in a couple of years” or “it won't be getting updates for much longer”, except for you, an anonymous forum poster claiming Sonos support said it.  That hearsay is contradicted by what actual Sonos support personnel have stated on this forum.

 

 

 

 

I suppose it may make sense to get these if you’re looking at a Connect as something you use for 3-4 years and upgrade later on to whatever currently meets your needs.  Seems like that would be a rather tiny market though.

@melvimbe thanks for your comments. I contacted Sonos support on Social media and they confirmed that a brand new Connect bought from them today would be eligible for recycling right away. They also said it won't be getting updates for much longer. They would not respond when asked why the website description is so inaccurate.

 

So thank you to everyone for stopping me from buying a POS. A Port would be logical but I would like optical. 

 

 

I wold take that bold statement with a grain of salt.  It’s vague, and contradicts what’s been said by staff here on these forums...that being that Sonos does not have plans to end updates to the Connect.

 

Regardless, I don’t think it makes much sense to spend $350 on a Connect, instead of $400 on a Port.

But after next week will it make sense to spend $450 on a Port instead of $350 on a connect? A lot of folks will have trouble finding $100 worth of extra value in the Port.

The Port is missing features that I would like. I think I would have been happy with the Connect. But since it will be bricked in a couple of years not so much...If Sonos was upfront about when updates will stop it would be an easier decision especially since buying used now is way more risky than it was before the Recycle program. 

There are other options and I'm very still happy with my Amp.

 

 

I actually was going to say that I’d consider the used market as an option when deciding between a $350 Connect that may go away in a couple years and $450 new product.  If I don’t want to spend $100 now (to me, the $50 difference makes me decided on a new Port), then perhaps I can get get a used Connect for $250 or $200 (that can turn in to 30% off later)  makes the most sense.  As far as depending on the used market, I wouldn’t buy from an unrelated market where you have no guarantees.  I haven’t looked at ebay policy in a while, but I believe they allow returns of products that are not functioning for a full refund, regardless of what the seller is willing to do.

 

This is all hypothetical to me though, as I don’t have a need for a Connect/Port right now.  I actually have 2 Connects that I’m not using.  Ultimately what I’m going to do is going to depend on need and how I intend to use it.  If I intend to display the device, then the Port is favored for it’s black color, but hidden device makes that irrelevant to me….for example.  Depends too on whether the 12V trigger is useful to me,whether I want airplay etc.

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I suppose it may make sense to get these if you’re looking at a Connect as something you use for 3-4 years and upgrade later on to whatever currently meets your needs.  Seems like that would be a rather tiny market though.

@melvimbe thanks for your comments. I contacted Sonos support on Social media and they confirmed that a brand new Connect bought from them today would be eligible for recycling right away. They also said it won't be getting updates for much longer. They would not respond when asked why the website description is so inaccurate.

 

So thank you to everyone for stopping me from buying a POS. A Port would be logical but I would like optical. 

 

 

I wold take that bold statement with a grain of salt.  It’s vague, and contradicts what’s been said by staff here on these forums...that being that Sonos does not have plans to end updates to the Connect.

 

Regardless, I don’t think it makes much sense to spend $350 on a Connect, instead of $400 on a Port.

But after next week will it make sense to spend $450 on a Port instead of $350 on a connect? A lot of folks will have trouble finding $100 worth of extra value in the Port.

The Port is missing features that I would like. I think I would have been happy with the Connect. But since it will be bricked in a couple of years not so much...If Sonos was upfront about when updates will stop it would be an easier decision especially since buying used now is way more risky than it was before the Recycle program. 

There are other options and I'm very still happy with my Amp.

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose it may make sense to get these if you’re looking at a Connect as something you use for 3-4 years and upgrade later on to whatever currently meets your needs.  Seems like that would be a rather tiny market though.

@melvimbe thanks for your comments. I contacted Sonos support on Social media and they confirmed that a brand new Connect bought from them today would be eligible for recycling right away. They also said it won't be getting updates for much longer. They would not respond when asked why the website description is so inaccurate.

 

So thank you to everyone for stopping me from buying a POS. A Port would be logical but I would like optical. 

 

 

I wold take that bold statement with a grain of salt.  It’s vague, and contradicts what’s been said by staff here on these forums...that being that Sonos does not have plans to end updates to the Connect.

 

Regardless, I don’t think it makes much sense to spend $350 on a Connect, instead of $400 on a Port.

But after next week will it make sense to spend $450 on a Port instead of $350 on a connect? A lot of folks will have trouble finding $100 worth of extra value in the Port.

 

 

 

 

I suppose it may make sense to get these if you’re looking at a Connect as something you use for 3-4 years and upgrade later on to whatever currently meets your needs.  Seems like that would be a rather tiny market though.

@melvimbe thanks for your comments. I contacted Sonos support on Social media and they confirmed that a brand new Connect bought from them today would be eligible for recycling right away. They also said it won't be getting updates for much longer. They would not respond when asked why the website description is so inaccurate.

 

So thank you to everyone for stopping me from buying a POS. A Port would be logical but I would like optical. 

 

 

I wold take that bold statement with a grain of salt.  It’s vague, and contradicts what’s been said by staff here on these forums...that being that Sonos does not have plans to end updates to the Connect.

 

Regardless, I don’t think it makes much sense to spend $350 on a Connect, instead of $400 on a Port.

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I suppose it may make sense to get these if you’re looking at a Connect as something you use for 3-4 years and upgrade later on to whatever currently meets your needs.  Seems like that would be a rather tiny market though.

@melvimbe thanks for your comments. I contacted Sonos support on Social media and they confirmed that a brand new Connect bought from them today would be eligible for recycling right away. They also said it won't be getting updates for much longer. They would not respond when asked why the website description is so inaccurate.

 

So thank you to everyone for stopping me from buying a POS. A Port would be logical but I would like optical.