Flash drives often end up as e-waste but this eco-friendly one might alleviate some of the guilt

The Team Group C175 ECO Flash Drive in hand with leaves surrounding it.
(Image credit: Team Group)

Having just dropped a new, totally net-zero flash drive, TeamGroup steps in as yet another tech company taking steps to reduce the use of new plastics, and tackle some of the issues that come along with the inevitable evil that is e-waste.

From the same company that brought us the first PCIe 5.0 storage made for non-server use, the C175 ECO is TeamGroup's new, eco-friendly USB 3.2 Gen 1 flash drive. It comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities, and you're looking at read speeds of up to 100MB/s. Most importantly, though, it's made from 75% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, and TeamGroup claims that it's managed to reduce 69% of carbon emissions in the manufacturing process, without the recycled plastic ending up an inviable mess.

Right now there's more than 347Mt (million metric tonnes) of e-waste piling up across the globe. 57.4Mt was generated in 2021 alone, and that number is on the up, increasing on average by a couple of Mt per year since then. And while it's not clear how much of that is made up of flash drives, I'd guess it's a lot just from the sheer number of flash drives being handed out free.

It's not always easy to know what to do with old flash drives. When there's the risk of your data going walkies, many will hang onto their flash drives indefinitely. Mine are just scattered through my drawers because I'm too lazy to get rid of them right now. Essentially, they seem insignificant in the grand scheme, which is in part why they are so likely to end up just in the trash. And unwanted tech in your cupboards is still mostly considered e-waste, anyways.

Let's be real, no one's going to go all the way to a special e-recycling point just for a little dongle they found in a drawer. But at least there are companies working on making flash drives more sustainable. And it doesn't involve companies making me go plant trees on behalf of its eco-pact with customers, which I appreciate.

(Image credit: Team Group)
Cooling off

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R and EK-AIO Basic 240 CPU coolers on a two-tone grey background

(Image credit: Cooler Master, EKWB)

Best AIO cooler for CPUs: All-in-one, and one for all... components.
Best CPU air coolers: CPU fans that don't go brrr.

As TechPowerUp notes, for every C175 ECO sold, you save 2 sheets of A4 paper or a teeny tiny 0.1% portion of a 600ml PET bottle—that equates to 9,200 less PET water bottles wasted, or around 203,000 pieces of A4 paper saved for every 100,000 C175 ECO flash drives sold. Every little helps.

Not only is there a nifty little storage clip that lets you attach the cap and stop it from getting lost and causing more e-waste, it's another cute addition to the trend of matcha green tech we're seeing at the moment. An appropriate colour for something so green. Oh and as a nice little extra, it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for three years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.