Get ready for Earth Day 2010! That’s right, just one more year until SunChips plans to introduce the first 100% compostable chip bag of its kind. The new bag will be constructed out of a plastic made from renewable, plant based materials (PLA) and will need to be composted as opposed to just left on the curb. The video below is composed of photos taken every 15 minutes as the bag decomposed over 14 weeks in a hot compost:
The press release (PDF) explains the whole process in greater detail:
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.
The packaging film we use at Frito–Lay has been engineered to provide maximum product protection (let’s keep
those chips fresh and tasty) as well as utilize the least amount of material possible. Our packaging is constructed
of 3 major components – an outer print web film (to provide consumer messaging), an inner barrier web film (to
provide product protection), and an adhesive layer that “glues” the two films together. Each layer performs a very
specific task and must work well with the adjacent layer so that the final package appears to be one harmonious
film. When you break it down like this it helps you understand the complexity we had to tackle.
SunChips wanted to share this information as soon as possible even though the company is still working on replacing the inner layers of the bag. The next challenge is utilizing an environmentally friendly inner lining that keeps the chips fresh. There’s no good in wasting substantial time and money on a high-tech bag if the product is worthless.