Compostable Packaging Making Progress

The holy grail for environmentally conscious manufacturers and consumers is truly bio-degradable effective packaging.  While the biggest threat is in plastic bottles and packaging materials that overwhelm our landfills, even small wrappers add up.

The challenge to manufacturers is that the very things that make wrappers good – impermeability, sealing out oxygen to prevent oxidation and decomposition – are also what makes the wrappers hard to decompose.  And if you try to use corn-based bio-degradable wrappers, exposure to moisture can make the wrapper protection degrade and be ineffective.  At KIND we keep looking for solutions that could enable us to use bio-degradable wrappers but have yet to find the answer (if anyone has any technology or ideas, please let me know).

Frito-Lay just announced that the outer layer of its Sun Chips will use compostable packaging.  That is nice, but what is really interesting is their commitment that within 1 year, they aim to also use compostable packaging for the bags’ interior.  If they really achieve it, that will be a remarkable step.

SunChips to come in compostable packaging

(, April 16, 2009)
by Staff

PLANO, TEXAS — Frito-Lay will introduce the first fully compostable snack chip bag made from plant-based materials in 2010 through its SunChips line.

"Packaging is clearly the most visible interaction consumers have with Frito-Lay’s brands," said Jay Gehring, vice-president of packaging R.&D. at Frito-Lay North America. "To make packaging that would interact differently in the environment, we had to change the composition of packaging and invent key technologies. Using plant-based renewable materials, we have a promising solution that will transform packaging and significantly impact the billions of snack food bags produced annually."

The company is taking the first step in packaging changes this month as the outer layer of packing on 10.5-oz SunChips snack bags will be made with a compostable, plant-based renewable material. By Earth Day of next year, Frito-Lay plans to introduce a package for SunChips where all layers are made from such materials so the package is 100% compostable.

When the package is totally compostable, it will completely decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a compost pile or bin. The company also anticipates the switch will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the production of the packaging and the elimination of petroleum-based packaging material.

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  1. Marie Smith said:

    I would like to saay that I love your chips, but, the bags are way, way to noisy.

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