SunChips Pushes its Environmental Cred with Compostable Chip Bag

The familiar sight of plastic chip bags littering the ground could soon be a thing of the past if companies follow multigrain chip brand SunChips’ lead. SunChips rolled out a serious Earth Day initiative earlier this month–compostable chip bags. No, really. The bag will crumble in the dirt after only 14 weeks.
The new SunChip bag’s outer layer will be made with polyactic acid (PLA), a compostable, plant based renewable material. By Earth Day 2010, all North American Sunchips bags will feature the new 100% compostable packaging. SunChips’ switch is expected to cut greenhouse emissions significantly and eliminate the use of petroleum in packaging

Don’t think that Frito-Lay and Sunchips are shunning the spotlight with this initiative, either. Frito-Lay is pushing the new chip bag with a YouTube video that has garnered nearly 165,000 views, along with an insert of a real compostable bag in People magazine. SunChips is also pushing its environmental cred by sponsoring National Geographic’s The Green Effect initiative, which will give five people or groups $20,000 for their innovative green ideas.
Heavy promotion for SunChips’ new bag makes sense–it’s a real step forward for the snack industry–but why isn’t Frito Lay also using the bag in, say, Cheetos? Frito Lay officials told USA Today that it wasn’t easy to create a bag that both maintains product integrity and disintegrates into the ground. I assume that means they spent a good amount of cash on research, but now that the technology is ready, why not use it for other Frito Lay chip brands? Is it more expensive to produce? I imagine that the same crowd that purchases Frito Lay favorites like Kettle Chips, Stacy’s pita chips, and Flat Earth veggie chips would also be willing to shell out a bit extra for compostable packaging. Frito Lay wants to patent its new technology, and it seems like a shame to keep it relegated to Sun Chips.
[Via Champion Media]