In Canada, Sunchips Uses Its Noisy Compostable Bag As Marketing Gimmick
Matt was incredulous when Sunchips ditched its bioplastic packaging because people thought the bags were too noisy. How noisy? A commenter on the Consumerist writes "We had a big bag of sun chips in my office once. Only once. The bags crinkle is such a piercing high frequency that it set off the glass-break sensor in the buildings' alarm system. The guard had to keep coming over to make sure the windows were fine."
But north of the border, the company is having a field day, with this story becoming their biggest marketing gimmick ever. They are taking out full page ads in the papers, and even offering free earplugs. Their tag line: "Feel the noise!"
Talk about turning a bug into a feature.
There is still some controversy over whether the bags really do compost, (some complain that they don't very well) or, whether PLA bags are a good thing in the waste stream; The City of Toronto is clear that they don't want them in either the garbage or the recycling system, noting:
There is a risk of biodegradable plastic packaging or products contaminating the Green Bin organics collection program where one brand in a class of products (e.g. snack food bags) introduces a biodegradable bag, regardless of the processing system in place.
Biodegradable plastics do not compost well in Toronto's or other municipalities' systems, regardless of whether the processing uses an anaerobic (without air) or aerobic (with air) system. Again, there is the risk of degrading the expected quality of the fine finished compost produced as a beneficial end-use product.
So the only people who are really doing the right thing are the serious composters. As Consumerist notes,
The bags advertise that they'll break down in 9 weeks, but you'll need a much more intense compost pile than most people have the time or care to make. You'll want your compost pile to preferably over 130 degrees and at least 21 cubic feet.
So it really all may be just so much noise. Nonetheless, one can only congratulate Sun Chips Canada for taking a stand and saying "Our bag is loud, our bag is different, our bag is good for the environment, and our bag will remain on store shelves!"
More on Sunchips Facebook page
More on Sunchips:
Is Noise Really Why SunChips Should Ditch Bioplastic Packaging?
SunChips to Introduce Completely Compostable Bags
The Consumer Scoop on SunChips' 100 Percent Compostable Packaging