by Michael dEstries
Categories: .

Last October, when SunChips decided to pull their “noisy” compostable bags after complaints, many people chided the company for giving in to the overly-sensitive ears of consumers.

“Luckily we can save the planet from unpleasant sound by using new quiet coal technologies and breakthroughs in silent oil,” quipped Stephen Colbert in a bit lampooning the company for the move. “And if we just do that much, eventually the ice caps will melt, the seas will rise, and our coastal cities will be underwater, where it’s nice and quiet.”

Adding insult to injury, SunChips Canada decided to keep the noisy bags, asking people to consider the environment first and just deal with the extra noise. “The trade-off is pretty clear. A little more noise, for a little less waste, and a little more green,” said Helmi Ansari, sustainability leader for Frito-Lay Canada. They even offered customers free ear plugs.

Such an announcement, marketed on Youtube through various PSAs, appeared to slap their American counterparts across the face.

Thankfully, it appears that Frito-Lay has been listening and using this time to improve the compostable material used in the original bags. According to an AP article, “the company found that if it used a different adhesive to put together the two layers of a bag – one which protects the food on the inside and one which carries the logo and labels on the outside – it created a sort of noise barrier.”

That new production process is said to reduce the decibel level of the bag from 80-85dbs down to 70dbs – which puts it on par with the noise from traditional bags.

Of course, all of this is moot if consumers don’t choose to compost the bags at home in the first place. But even then, success won’t come quickly. A new Consumer Reports study on the original “noisy” bag found that after 13 weeks in a well-tended compost bin, very little biodegradation had taken place. In other words, results may vary.

SunChips, which had kept the noisy bag for its original brand of chips, will roll out the new quieter bags to that line firs before deciding whether to introduce it to all their products.

Check out the promo video for the bags by hitting the official site here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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