Friday, May 28, 2010

SunChips’ Compostable Bag: Should I Be Green After Hearing It? What?

I love snacking on carbs. Who doesn’t? I’ll usually choose the healthier choices from one of those “alternative” markets. Well, I was in a bit of a shopping rush a few weeks ago and only had time to dash into a “regular” grocery to pick up some goodies and staples.

As luck would have it, I started imagining noshing on something with some crunch to it. So there I was, standing in the snack aisle. I wanted to make a healthy choice. And there on the shelf, I spotted Sun Chips. Yes, I have had them before; mainly for “people fuel” when on long driving trips.

After all, they are probably one of the healthiest choices at a gas station convenience store. Yes! Justification! So I scooped up bag. I immediately noticed the bag had a funny crinkle to it. Eh. I tossed it in the cart anyway.

Arriving home, I put away the groceries quickly. Now, on to those Sun Chips. The radio in the kitchen was blaring pretty loudly. I started opening the bag. Suddenly, the room exploded into crinkly clatter! Whoa! What happened to Pink Floyd? Was there an earthquake? My ears hurt!

Measured out a serving, ear still smarting. Yes, I measure my food, otherwise the contents of a bag of chips would magically disappear and I’d gain a pound. Now, time to roll-up the top of the bag and clip it. AAAARGH! That done, I gingerly held the bag and quickly stashed it into the kitchen pantry. Pink Floyd sang “You're nearly a laugh - But you're really a cry”.

The chips were delicious and satisfying.

What have the makers of Sun Chips done? Their intention is good. They’ve demonstrated care for our planet, and want to reduce their carbon footprint. And it’s easy to do our part. Put the bag in your compost pile and in a mere 3 ½ months it’s broken down and returned to the soil. Here is a page containing a nifty video that nicely illustrates the whole process.

The folks at Sun Chips admit that the bag is noisy and offered an explanation: “Plant-based materials have different sound properties than the materials used to create our old bags.” Nice to know, but perhaps free ear plugs should be included with every bag?

Searching on the internet on “Sun Chips” + “bag” + “noisy” reveals a considerable amount of backlash. After hearing it “live” myself, I’m not surprised to see so many responses. Hear it for yourself here.

The big question buy or not to buy? Here’s my thought: If you relish the taste of this product, do continue to enjoy it. Open the bag, dump the chips into a bowl, and compost the bag immediately. Just 20 seconds of ear-splitting cackle is all you’ll have to put up with then. And the SunChips’ bags return to earth journey starts that much sooner. What are your thoughts?