ecobee Citizen

Reducing Waste and Maximizing Resources: ecobee's Commitment to the 4 Rs

Discover how ecobee prioritizes sustainability through reducing waste, reusing materials, repurposing devices, and recycling responsibly.

by ecobee on 05/16/2024 in Better Planet

5 min read

A mom and daughter reusing ecobee packaging to plant a house plant on a table.

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How ecobee put the 4 Rs at the heart of what we do.

At ecobee, our commitment to sustainability goes beyond words—it's deeply ingrained in our practices and products, driven by the principles of the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle. To explore how these values are at the core of our environmental initiatives, we sat down with Coline Roux, ecobee’s Senior Sustainability Manager. Coline sheds light on how these guiding principles shape our operations, from design to distribution, with a focus on minimizing waste and maximizing resource efficiency.

 Head shot of ecobee's Sustainability Manager, Coline Roux.

ecobee Citizen: What are the 4 Rs, and how do they fit together?

Coline Roux: The 4 Rs are reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle, and they work in the specific order to minimize waste and preserve the Earth’s finite resources. Each R represents a specific approach to addressing environmental issues and reducing a business’s ecological footprint. These are principles of the circular economy aimed at minimizing waste and maximizing the utilization of resources.

ecobee Citizen: Let’s delve deeper into each one, and you can tell us how we incorporate them into operations here at ecobee?

Roux: "Naturally, we can start with the first and most important R: Reduce.

Sustainability starts with reducing our use of materials and protecting people. That’s why a big part of having a sustainable operation is looking at the whole supply chain, including manufacturing, and transportation and identifying efficiencies at each stop.

We crafted elegantly minimalistic devices like our Smart Thermostats that use less materials. To reduce the impact of our activities on the planet, ecobee devices are optimized with minimal components, ensuring accessibility, and avoiding complex disassembly processes. In our packaging, we avoid the use of plastics where possible.

We work with contract manufacturers to make sure they’re sustainability leaders who include more renewable energy in their manufacturing facilities and reduce waste and water. (Editor’s note: ecobee’s suppliers are part of the Responsible Business Alliance, an organization dedicated to safeguarding human rights and the environment.)

Additionally, ecobee integrates social and environmental factors into our procurement practices, uses scorecards to ensure sustainability is embedded into our selection process, and employs a supplier code of conduct.

At ecobee, careful consideration goes into conserving resources and reducing energy consumption, and we plan goals around both. When it comes to shipping our manufacturing facilities in Malaysia to our North American marketplace, in 2023, we managed to use 74% sea transportation versus 26% air transport. Sea transit emits up to 50 times less greenhouse gas emissions than air transport, which is why we aim for 95% sea transport in the coming years."

ecobee products are designed to last for 10 years, which is four times longer than a smartphone.

- Coline Roux

Reuse: Extending Product Lifecycles

Roux: The circular economy is about making sure materials and products remain in circulation instead of becoming waste. ecobee products are designed to last for 10 years, which is four times longer than a smartphone. Customers can leverage their existing products instead of purchasing new devices for other features. For example, if they already have an ecobee Smart Thermostat, they can use it to view live video footage from the new Smart Doorbell Camera.

Repurpose: Redefining Sustainability

Roux: Refurbished products keep e-waste out of landfills and reduce raw material consumption. ecobee devices are designed with repairability and refurbishment in mind. Today 60% of the thermostats returned to ecobee are refurbished. Since September 2021, 35,000+ devices returned to ecobee have been repaired, refurbished, and made available for purchase on

Recycling should be considered the final option, as it still involves the consumption of energy and water, but it remains a necessary process. ecobee’s recent packaging includes bio-based materials that are compostable and recyclable.

A person holding ecobee's thermostat hardware packaging showing the product.

How to live sustainably and recycle your electronic waste.

ecobee wanted to make the process of recycling seamless by creating a Recycling page as a guide on how to recycle the products in a sustainable way. Please follow the step-by-step instructions on how to do this when components reach end of life.

Did you know that globally, less than 20% of electronic waste is formally recycled, with 80% either ending up in landfill or being informally recycled? Did you know how easy it is to recycle batteries? Just use Call2Recycle’s certified recycler locator to find a drop-off point near you. Enter your zip code or postal code and select a local recycling program with the “Rechargeable Batteries” icon.

Closing the loop responsibly.

At ecobee, our dedication to the 4 Rs isn't just a philosophy—it's a blueprint for action. From reducing our environmental footprint through efficient design and manufacturing to extending product lifecycles through reuse and repurposing, we're redefining sustainability in the smart home industry. By embracing these principles at every stage of our operations, we're not only minimizing waste but also fostering a more conscious approach to consumption. Together, we can build a world where every action contributes to a healthier planet for generations to come.

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