Use A Flash Drive; Save A Tree; Ignite A Flash Drive War

flash-rive.jpgThis is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.
If you are planning an event or teaching program that involves a lot of data please save a tree and use a flash drive.
At less than 8oz a 1GB flash drive can hold more information that 100 twenty-page teaching manuals. Use a promotional items company like Proforma Green for your drives and we can print your logo, event name, even class title on the side of the drive.
Flash drives are easy to use and no one ever throws them away. They may erase your info but the drive will survive with your information printed on the shell. A great marketing item.
And now for the zinger, the flash memory wars are on again.

This happened last summer as well. Pricing collapses as more manufacturers and generally more items use flash memory – cameras, music players, toasters, whatever – they all end up increasing the size of the market and thus lowering prices.
What does that mean for the green business? It means you can place all the pictures, press clippings, presentations, etc for your business in one portable place for $6-9 per unit based on quantity.
Hand them out at trade shows instead of paper. You can actually provide more info at a lower cost than paper if you take in to consideration printing and shipping costs. Also you can provide music, videos, whatever. Plus once paper is printed it is dead. You can change the information on a flash drive whenever you want.
If you are in the business contact Gabe Gerhardt at US Flash & Technologies, LLC. US Flash does a lot of work for us and they seem to be ahead on the flash drive price fight. All-in-One is another manufacturer to check out at
US Flash & Techologies does offer bamboo and other eco models – although they do not show on their website yet. Eco drives still cost a bit more than standard drives but as a consumer product all drives are ROHS certified which means they are free of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.
If you have a ton of info to move around think flash drives. They make good business and good eco sense. And as far as I can tell their pricing will continue to fall.

4 responses

  1. Hey John,
    Do you have any info on life cycle impact for flash drives as compared to the paper document you would otherwise print out?
    I suspect that paper still comes out with a lesser impact than flash drives. If you assume that the drive will only be used once or twice,(which is likely given that companies will probably buy drives with small memory to save money, and many people already have flash drives), the impact of paper printing has to be far less than the impact of creating a drive with all those components and toxic chemicals. Especially if you print on 100% post consumer!
    I’d be cautious about claiming that flash drives are the better environmental solution just because they *can* be reused.

  2. Jen,
    So far we have seen the opposite. Companies ask for larger memory drives because they can get more information on them then they could ever afford to print and ship.
    Also keep in mind that if the information on a drive goes out of date the drive can still be used for other information by the end user. A drive give at a trade show ends up being used for your daughters MP3s.
    You just can’t do that with CD, DVD, or printed materials.

  3. right, it can be used, but will it? Many are likely to end up sitting in desk drawers until the point at which they go the way of records, 8-tracks, floppy disks and 3.5 disks and become obsolete. They will be thrown away or at best recycled.
    A lot more energy gets used, and carbon expended, in the course of making a flash drive than 50 sheets of paper. Not to mention all the hard metals and toxics that go into the flash drives. They are extremely difficult for the average user to safely recycle, and if they aren’t recycled, they will be landfilled and the hard metals will leak out of them and eventually make their way into the water table.
    This is not to say that I’m against flash drives, of course not. There’s one on my key chain. I’m just far from convinced that they are environmentally preferable to paper in the uses that you’re suggesting.

  4. I agree with Jen:
    1) Most people already have these things
    2) Most people never look at tradeshow materials a second time anyway
    3) If they’re really serious about taking away materials, they can always ask for it to be emailed, or use their existing USB drive …
    So maybe the answer is to promote people to share materials electronically in general, and in the event people don’t have USB drives, then provide ’em.

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