Now Available at C-Stores: The first 100% compostable chip bag!!!

I bought a bag of chips today. I normally try to stay away from these greasy morsels since they are fatty, somewhat unsatisfying, and produce waste when I throw away the bag. I always liked Sun Chips because they are more nutritious and delicious than most brands, but now that Sun Chips has introduced the first 100% compostable chip package, I can’t complain about anything. Amazingly enough, this bag produces almost zero waste all around. Can’t wrap your head around a compostable chip bag? Allow me to elaborate.

The package definitely has a unique texture. The bag feels lighter and crinkles louder than average chip bags, although it still feels fairly sturdy, slick, and strong. I can’t puncture it any easier than most chip bags. The back of the packaging boasts that it was made from 90% renewable, plant-based materials, which allows it to completely break down over 14 weeks into compost under ideal conditions, including a temperature of at least 55 degrees C.

Don’t believe me? Check out this time-lapsed video of the bag breaking down into compost or see the pictures from Sun Chips below.

After six weeks:

After 13 weeks:

A press release explained the bag’s miracle ingredient, a plant-based polymer called PLA:
“PLA is made from lactic acid. Lactic acid is made from dextrose by fermentation. Dextrose is made from starch and starch is made from carbon dioxide and water. Because it’s made with plants that grow annually instead of petroleum (which takes millions of years to form) the impact on greenhouse gases is much lower.”

Think about how much food packaging you throw away every day: Saran wrap, candy wrappers, grocery store produce bags, microwave dinners. Then, consider how nearly everything we purchase, from computer programs to bedsheets, is packaged in plastic. Plastic, which produces one third of our waste, takes an inordinately long time to disintegrate (estimates vary from a thousand to a million years, depending on the plastic), which means we use tons of heat energy and millions of barrels of oil to create all this packaging that simply gets balled up in a landfill, out of sight and out of mind. (Unless it’s dumped into the ocean, where it harms the ecosystem.) I personally wonder if compostable packaging will start a revolution. If chips can be reasonably packaged in this material, then why need we create ANY non-renewably sourced, non-biodegradable packaging?

The compostable bags are now available at Truman’s C-stores. Pick one up next time you are around campus, and tell me what YOU think. And don’t forget to drop it in the compost pile at West Campus Suites or at the University Farm when you’re done!

Read these tips by Sun Chips on how to start your own backyard compost or click here for more info about Sun Chips’ bags.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Yajie on March 12, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    This is a great post! 😀


  2. Posted by Michelle B. on March 15, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Don’t forget, though, that in order to do any good, we actually have to compost the compostable bags! If we throw them out, they’ll end up in a landfill and release lots of methane, which is an even nastier greenhouse gas than CO2. So, buy your compostable bags and drop them off, either at the farm compost pile, or at the bins at the Communiversity Garden, folks! They have compostable coffee cups at the SUB, too, but thus far, no one has actually been composting them. We should talk about this at ECO tonight, now that we’ve got two compost projects up and running…


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