Sun Chips New Bag: Green or Greed?

April 30, 2010

So Sun Chips has come out with a new Compostable bag! Exciting! This is a new thing in the snacking industry, packaging that goes away rather than becoming litter. As with many companies this step is a laudable opportunity to create a cleaner environment and promote their product.

If you check out there site you will find great information about the differences between some of the various types of packaging on the market that are touted as ‘green’ or sustainable. They have done a good job of putting out straight forward honest information about composting and how their package breaks down. Overall Bravo.

http://www.sunchips.com/

Now here are the challenges.

1. Most people don’t compost. It is a practice that is not widely accepted either individually or by municipalities. The vast majority of places do not have a separated bin for compostable materials and so the majority of these bags will probably wind up in a trash dump. They will still break down, but when they are mixed with other trash the potential compost is useless. 

2. Sun Chips is Frito Lay company. Why not just convert all of Frito Lay’s packaging to compostable material? In my opinion this step is to place Sun Chips squarely in the public’s eye as the ‘environmental alternative’ for potato chips. It is a play to increase market share based on how green they can be. I am sure the advertising campaign and sales are being closely tracked to see how effective the marketing really is and if the public steps up to ask for compostable packaging Frito Lay will eventually convert all of the products. 

3. There is a statement that this is the World’s First 100% Compostable Chip Package! That is a bold statement if I ever heard one. What I don’t understand is how you compare sealed bags with the brown paper bags of yesteryear? What about simple wax paper? Wax paper if it is truly just a wax-coated paper (most aren’t anymore) is both compostable and biodegradable. Why not just simplify the package to a printed wax paper? 

Overall I think Sun Chips is trying to do something right, but this isn’t about being sustainable it is about commanding market share and making money. I hate to be the skeptic, but I think they would be better off to change over to a simple paper bag to make a real difference.

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2 Responses to “Sun Chips New Bag: Green or Greed?”

  1. Thought provoking, Ralph! I like Don Miguel Ruiz’ Fifth Agreement: “Be skeptical and listen deeply…”

  2. Linda Walker said

    Interesting observation. Part of the reality is that Frito-Lay is a for-profit only company. They need to make money to exist, so when they make an effort to be ecologically responsible with one product that has always been promoted as the healthier alternative we should offer praise, but not kudos. You are right that the majority of their products are not ‘environmentally’ friendly either for our bodies or the environment.

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