CES: where “eco-friendly” tech goes to die.

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For being one of the most “green” industries, the tech business really has no problem being flagrantly wasteful at major trade shows like CES. I’m far from the most eco person on the planet, but the level of waste at CES really burns me up.

Take this flash drive. A metal flash drive with swivel action, in two layers of foam padding, in a metal case, with a plastic window.

The flash drive has four gigabytes of capacity. Four gigabytes. Its purpose? Storing some pictures of products that could have just as easily been stored on Dropbox, Google Drive, or one of many hosting services. But “what if a journalist doesn’t have easy internet access?” My god, is it 2003? I think anyone worth their chops can get access to the internet for the purpose of doing their job in 2016. If you can’t manage that, what does that say about you?

This really is shameful, and it’s the tip of a gigantic plastic/metal/paper waste iceberg at shows like CES. I left, I kid you not, at least a couple of pounds of CES swag-junk in my hotel room in the hope that maybe the staff there might have use for it, instead of just throwing it in the trash or recycling bins. Between the pens, flash drives, notebooks, and – yes seriously – printed press releases, it makes me fume that it’s all acceptable in the name of business.

The CTA (the body that organizes CES) really should set an example for the industry and ban flash drives, promotional pens, printed press releases, and notepads. Swag like this is just plain wasteful. If people are attending a show for free pens and flash drives, maybe the show should be reevaluating its priorities.

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