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SunChips unveils world's first fully-compostable chip bag

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April 3, 2010

One of the new biodegradable SunChips bags, after spending 12 weeks in a compost heap

One of the new biodegradable SunChips bags, after spending 12 weeks in a compost heap

The last thing the world needs right now is more discarded food packaging, which is why it’s good to hear that Frito-Lay is about to introduce a 100% compostable bag for their SunChips snacks in the US and Canada. Made with plant-based polylactic acid, the new bags will completely biodegrade within about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin.

Frito-Lay reportedly spent four years developing the bag. It is designed with three layers - an outer layer with graphics and other visuals, an inner layer that serves as a barrier to protect the chips, and a middle layer to join the other two layers together. Once finished, the bags were submitted to the independent Wood’s End laboratory, which certified their compostability. The bags also received certification from the Biodegradable Products Institute.

Now, it’s all very well and good to make bags that break down in a compost heap, but how many people are likely to still just throw the things in the garbage? Most of them, probably. That said, Frito-Lay is also working on a national composting awareness program with the US Composting Council, recycling educators Earth 911, and Al Gore’s Current TV.

Some people might see this as another example of a big corporation trying to look good by jumping on the green bandwagon, and perhaps it is. For what it’s worth, though, Frito-Lay does have a history of eco-friendly initiatives... and hey, a compostable bag is a compostable bag.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
5 Comments

This new bag was on my local Wal-marts shelves 3 weeks ago...not exactly breaking news...

and FYI, I hate hit. It crinkles super loud.

Howe
3rd April, 2010 @ 09:11 pm PDT

@Howe

Wow you would find anything to complain about, get some perspective.

Gruph Norgle
5th April, 2010 @ 06:03 am PDT

The question I'd have to wonder about is will the bag present a good oxygen barrier without the metallic foil current packaging uses.

Gadgeteer
5th April, 2010 @ 09:06 pm PDT

This article implies something which is not true, which is that PLA, or corn plastic, is home compostable. It can only be composted in commercial compost facilities which provide heat above and beyond that natural to the process in a home compost bin. There are very few such facilities in the US. Furthermore, with hundreds of millions of tons of disposable plastic made every year, 'sustainable' plastic, made of corn, threatens hundreds of millions in the impoverished third world with starvation. Read more about micro-biodegradable plastic alternatives made out of byproducts rather than food at http://earthnurture.com .

BigCat
5th April, 2010 @ 09:45 pm PDT

World's first? Obviously somebody is under the age of 30! I have eaten real potato chips from bags made of paper or cellophane. Folks forget that ALL packaging was biodegradable prior to the widespread adoption of Petroleum based plastics after WWII.

detritus
11th October, 2010 @ 10:52 am PDT
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