If You’re Buying Branded USB Memory Stick Read This First

The once humble and now ubiquitous USB memory stick is everywhere. The promotion and advertising market is awash with them. It’s rare to attend a conference, exhibition or seminar and not come away with at least one of these little beauties. The reason is understandable – they are just a fantastic way of distributing data, slides, sales material etc. whilst at the same time giving the recipient something that is useful and something that promotes your brand beyond the event.

But before you rush to buy branded memory sticks for your own event or campaign there are a number of critical factors you must consider. The onus is on you to know this because not all suppliers are equal when it comes to absolute disclosure of what they are supplying

Point #1 – Am I getting A Grade (new) Memory Chips?

Its not particularly well known but flash memory chips are graded.  Only Grade A memory chips are new and give you access to the full amount of advertised memory on the Chip. All other grades of memory chip make less of the advertised memory available for use and in some cases are re-cycled. In other words they are memory chips taken out of used kit or recovered from USB sticks that have failed the build QA process. If you end up with anything other than Grade A memory chips you are likely to experience a higher failure rate, you won’t be able to store as much information on the stick as expected and its possible you’ll overpay for what you’re getting. Always check with your supplier that they are using Grade A memory chips

Point #2 – USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 and does it matter.

The short answer is yes. Anything using USB 1.1 is old. Version 2.0 has been around for several years and is the current standard, its faster and more reliable and you should expect all of your branded USB memory sticks to be Version 2.0. Users will get frustrated with the slow transfer speeds of USB 1.1 sticks and abandon them pretty quickly which is not what you want.

Point #3 – RoHS Compliance – You need to understand what this is.

RoHS stands for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances and it applies to thousands of electrical and computer parts and components imported into the EU. This is EU Legislation and you must comply with it. Finding out you have imported non-RoHS compliant products and then pushing the blame back to your supplier won’t wash. The fines are significant so ensure you ask the right questions and get copies of RoHS certificates.

Point #4 – WEEE Compliance – Its Your Responsibility

The WEEE directive is designed to actively encourage reuse and recycling. The Directive states that 65% of IT equipment must be recycled, and materials such as old LCD displays and the larger CRT display, printed circuit boards, batteries and computers must be pre-treated before disposal. USB memory sticks fall into the same category and must be supported by a WEEE recycling scheme that allows the end user or recipient of the promotional USB stick to return it for ethical recycling. If you fail in your obligations to support this then you could be prosecuted.

Point # 5 – REACH Compliance – What do you need to know?

This new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use within industry also has a direct bearing on branded USB Memory sticks. The regulation deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. This new law came into force on 1st June 2007.

The legislation is intended to enhance the protection of human health and to protect the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. The benefits of the REACH system will come gradually, as more and more substances are phased into REACH.

Point # 6 – Choose a reputable supplier with a proven track record.

The above points illustrate that there is a little more to buying branded USB memory sticks than just choosing the cheapest supplier. You have a corporate responsibility to understand your obligations and to ensure you comply. An easy way to do this is to work with a supplier of branded USB Memory Sticks that has the experience and expertise to take all of this pain away from you. USB2U is such a supplier.

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