This week, news reports said that Frito-Lay was going to retire its new biodegradable SunChips bag because consumers hated the noise. In short order, bloggers and Facebookers set out to denounce those horrible yuppies who believed that their sensitive ears were more important than the environment. Tsk! Tsk!
But I don't think that's why Frito-Lay is abandoning the bag. That's because my husband and I are horrible yuppies who compost. Back in May, we bought a bag of SunChips, ate the contents, and then put the bag in our compost bin to see how well it worked. It didn't. Although the company claimed that the bag would break down in fourteen weeks in a hot, active compost pile, it didn't break down in ours. A good sixteen weeks after we composed the bag, I pulled it out and, well, see for yourself how much of it degraded. (The black stuff is decayed material, not ordinary garden dirt.)
I've been accused of being cynical, and I think that the real problem is that the bag doesn't work as advertised. To be even more cynical, most of the people who bought SunChips for their environmental benefits don't know this because they don't compost.
Besides, SunChips are not a simple or natural food. They are made with a crazy amount of ingredients, some of which aren't found in nature. If you want to eat environmentally friendly junk food, go for simple potato chips. They have just three ingredients (potatoes, oil, and salt), and they taste wonderful. (Natural doesn't mean healthy, alas.) Yeah, they come in non-biodegradable packaging, but then, so do SunChips.
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