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  October 24, 2013

Disposable USB Flash Drive – Myth or Reality?

disposable USBSo is the disposable USB flash drive a reality or a myth created by an over imaginative creative director? Are the cardboard or other materials USB flash drives really safe to throw away without environment impact or are they recyclable, or can they have their memory reused?

Well, the truth is that creative directors are paid to elaborate marketing and advertising plans using the disposable USB flash drive as a concept, but most of them are based on the USB web keys rather than the actual flash drives.

USB key

The USB web key is a product similar to the flash drive, but its only purpose is to launch the default browser, of a personal computer or Mac in the moment of plugging in, with a preloaded website address. Nothing else is stored nor can be stored on the USB web key. The user cannot use the memory space of this device, as there is almost none, for any purposes. This product is primarily used for web-based promotions or just to attract new visitors or users to a web site. Usually, after usage, the web key is unnecessary and can be disposed of or recycled ideally.

The web keys are pretty new and being different from the typical USB flash drive, they trigger curiosity. As people tend to plug them in just to see what happens, they can be an important part of a direct mail campaign or as a magazine insert. Their concept is quite effective.

USB flash drives

boardy usb driveThe USB flash drives are still quite expensive to be considered really disposable item, even small memory capacity ones with less than 1 GB. So the reusable on-board memory is far less common. With branded USB flash drives prices falling more and more, they are still regarded as high valued promotional items by the customers. There is no company that will suggest their clients the idea that their giveaways should be thrown away right after the promotional message is received. Not only because this will not endorse any eco-friendly credentials, but, in the best case scenario, it will alienate only part of their market segment and their brand will not be visible such a long time.

If the prices of the USB flash drives, branded or not, will continue to fall just as they have done so far, disposable USB flash drives will appear on the market, but manufacturers will still need to produce flash memory modules. Today, most factories are stopping the production of certain items if they reached a point where the producer cannot gain a profit anymore. Ask yourself why there is so difficult now to buy 64 MB, 128 MB or other memory capacity USB memory drive up to 1 GB or 2 GB.

“Throwaway” USB flash drives, available to purchase for only few pennies, do not exist. And if the current producing fashion continues, they will never exist. Real disposable USB flash drives are only possible if the companies using the concept are prepared to spend more on their promotional products, as they will be more expensive, and a special focus should be directed to the message that encourages people to throw away a perfectly good item, so it will not have a negative impact on the customers.