Though not the first, GIGS.2.GO is perhaps the most tidy execution of a paper-based USB flash drives we've seen. Four sticks, or tabs, made from recycled, molded paper pulp can be torn from a credit-card sized pack. But are such sticks as "disposable" as they purport to be?
GIGS.2.GO is conceptually quite similar to Art. Lebedev's concept disposable cardboard USB flash drives we saw back in May, 2011. Both feature perforated tear-off sticks which can then be written on thanks to the material used.
Of course disposability implies cheapness, and its interesting that GIGS.2.GO, which is also just a concept at this stage, proposes 1 GB of storage per stick compared to Art. Lebedev's 4 to 16 GB. More recently Gizmag looked at intelliPaper's paper-based USB drives. In development, the cards featured a more modest (and perhaps realistic, for a disposable stick) 8–32 MB of data.
Perhaps the clue to the larger storage size is that GIGS.2.GO may have been conceived for reuse rather than disposability. Despite being made from paper, the memory sticks look durable enough to be reused, and can therefore command a higher sale price.
This is desirable. Though recycled paper case may be supremely disposable, it still contains e-waste, and without much more sophisticated waste collection and sorting systems than we have, "disposable" electronics of any kind are arguably misguided.
There's a reason recycle comes last in the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra, and really, we should look for USB sticks that are durable enough to wear out their write cycles. But all else being equal, a USB stick made of recycled materials is clearly preferable, and so, if they can withstand the battering that well-used USB flash drives tend to take, it would be great to see this in development… in my opinion, without the word disposable on the packaging.
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