Posted by: hepowers | April 17, 2010

Sun Chips and their Composting Bags

Image from Composting Council of Canada

You have probably seen television ads recently for a new compostable bag which Frito Lay is using for its Sun Chips brand of products.  Being a slight chipaholic, I took a look at their website to see what I could learn about this innovation.

In 2008, the research people at Frito Lay discovered a way to make the bags’ outer layer compostable.  More research followed to make all three layers of the bag compostable through the use of polylactic acid, a renewable plant based polymer made from starch.

Some plastic bags claim to be compostable but actually only break down into little bits that stay around for a long, long time. So how about the Sun Chip bag?  According to the information on their website: “With 100% compostable packaging, the bag will fully compost in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost pile or bin. However, actual results may vary, depending on the conditions of the compost pile or bin.”  While their website cautions that some municipal waste policies may not accept the bags, they did work with the  Composting Council of Canada to inform municipalities about this new product.

Their website also states, ‘Our SunChips® compostable bag has been certified through the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), the only internationally recognized labeling program.’  Based in New York City, this organization’s website has lots of useful information.

The Frito Lay website includes a tab labeled ‘Our Corporate  Commitment’ which takes you to the corporate pages of Pepsi-Co and a list of awards for energy conservation, recycling, green supply chain and pollution prevention.  Another day I’ll take a closer look at these corporate pages and get a fuller perspective of the social responsibility programs.

Until then, I’m off to buy some Sun Chips.  My taste buds will be happy and my conscience will be satisfied knowing that the bag will bite the dust before too long.

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