I had been seeing commercials for the new biodegradable Sun Chips bags for months and finally picked some up at the grocery store the other day.
And everyone in the next three isles over knew it.
The Frito Lay Sun Chips bag is loud, famously loud. Not just a little loud, but a thunderous crinkle advertising the act of a consumer who composts. (Hopefully)
Potato, corn and other types of chips have traditionally been packaged in a petroleum-based plastic called biaxially oriented polypropylene, or OPP plastic. A producer of OPP plastic, Exxon Mobil Chemical, says on their website that OPP plastic packaging has an excellent gloss that “enhances a products appearance and point-of-sale appeal” along with keeping the product fresh. OPP plastic is easy to print on as well, which is attractive to chip companies who need to print long lists of ingredients in a very small font alongside very big, flashy logos.
Sun Chips loud biodegradable bag is made from polyactic acid, or polylactide (PLA) plastic. PLA is a corn-based plastic, instead of a petroleum based plastic, so it is a much more sustainable resource to harvest, comparatively.
The PLA plastic Sun Chips bag is certified “Industrial Compostable” by the Biodegradable Products Institute. Frito Lay commercials for the new Sun Chips bag show time lapse video of the bag decomposing into soil over just a few months. That was something I wanted to see for myself, so I decided to buy a bag of Sun Chips and try it in my own home compost pile.
As a shopper, the appearance of the new PLA plastic Sun Chips bag didn’t stand out to me on the wall of chips in the grocery store. Instead of signaling its commitment to the environment like other companies do, packaging their chips in conspicuous brown paper bags, the Sun Chips bags made of PLA plastic look very much like their traditional bags and the Sun Chips design is as flashy as ever.
It was when I, an unsuspecting consumer, grabbed hold of the new Sun Chips bag that I knew this PLA bag could only be considered a huge marketing flop or an unparalleled success that would change the industry forever. The Sun Chips bag is indescribably loud compared to every other bag out there.
Eating from the loud Sun Chips bag is something to get use too. There’s no sneaking chips from the loud Sun Chips Bag, for sure. The loud Sun Chips bag announces itself like a high school band getting ready to play its first concert. The crinkle is ear jangling and sounds much like banging together two of those disposable aluminum pie plates that bakery items come in.
When we finished the bag of Sun Chips, I proudly put the biodegradable bag into my compost bin. If you don’t have a compost bin, you can find out about starting one or find an industrial compost facility in your area.
The loud Sun Chips bag is marketing genius, I decided when I bought another bag just days later. That clanging crunch will forever be the sound I attribute to the break down of a substance in the compost bin. Never before have I had such a vivid image, and sound, to attach to biodegradability.
Sources: Exxon Mobil Chemical OPPalyte™ films. www.exxonmobilchemical.com/Chem-English/brands/oppalyte-films.aspx?ln=productsservices
2007 Frito-Lay North America Inc.Sun Chips. www.sunchips.com