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First 100% Compostable Chip Bags to Hit Shelves Soon
Posted By Bridgette Meinhold On March 18, 2010 @ 5:00 pm In Green Graphics & Packaging | 8 Comments
Frito-Lay has been working for a year now on developing and testing a biodegradable bag  that will completely break down in an ordinary compost pile. The corn-based polymer chip bags are set to hit store shelves soon and can be expected to biodegrade in a backyard compost pile  within 14 weeks. Right now, Frito-Lay is only rolling out the new bags under their Sun Chip brand, so don’t try throwing your Doritos bag into your compost bin — you’ll only have to fish it out later.
The new chip bag material is made from PLA (polylactic acid), a corn-based polymer made by NatureWorks , who claims  the material is the “world’s first and only performance plastic made from 100% annually renewable resources.” The Biodegradable Products Institute  has also certified that the bag meets its biodegradable standards for sustainable packaging, and starting in May, the B.P.I logo will be included on the package. Frito-Lay has determined through testing that under typical backyard composting conditions, the bag will decompose at the same rate as the rest of the compost — around 12-16 weeks. If the bag makes it to a commercial composter , it will take about the same time to decompose.
The big question, however, is whether the new bags will actually end up in the compost heap. As Kate Galbraith  of the NY Times says, “Whether many of the bags will actually make it into the compost heap, of course, seems doubtful. Few Americans compost in their backyards , and curbside pickup is typically limited to Western metropolises like the Bay Area  and Seattle.” It’s likely that most of these bags will still end up in the landfill, and according to Frito-Lay’s own testing, the new bag will not decompose under the anaerobic conditions of a typical landfill. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, and those conscious composters who eat Sun Chips can merrily toss the chip bag into their compost pile.
+ Sun Chips 
Via New York Times 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/first-100-compostable-chip-bags-to-hit-shelves-soon/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/18/first-100-compostable-chip-bags-to-hit-shelves-soon/compostable-chip-bag-1/
 biodegradable bag: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/03/18/student-designs-biodegradable-packaging-for-mcdonalds/
 backyard compost pile: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/02/19/new-research-reveals-sugar-based-plastics-could-be-composted-at-home/
 NatureWorks: http://www.natureworksllc.com
 claims: http://www.sunchips.com/resources/pdf/SunChips_Stepsweretaking.pdf
 Biodegradable Products Institute: http://www.bpiworld.org/
 commercial composter: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/10/22/san-francisco-implements-nations-first-mandatory-composting-law/
 Kate Galbraith: http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/a-compostable-chips-bag-hits-the-shelves/
 Few Americans compost in their backyards: http://www.greenrightnow.com/connect2utah/2009/10/13/harris-poll-finds-many-americans-are-actively-green-others-have-not-signed-up/
 + Sun Chips: http://www.sunchips.com/healthier_planet.shtml?s=content_compostable_packaging
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