High temperatures (around 113º F) are needed to home-compost Frito-Lay’s SunChips bags, the company admits.
Maybe SunChips bags will decompose quickly in Arizona in a home compost bin, but not in Chicago. After Frito-Lay, the Plano, Texas-based owner of the SunChips brand, revised its biodegradable SunChips bag with a quieter version two months ago following a consumer uproar about the original packaging being too loud, it stated that the new bag is home-compostable within the 14 weeks the company claims. But this can happen only under a hot active composting temperature of a whopping 113º F.
The SunChips bag, which is made from plant-based polylactic acid (PLA), can be disposed of at industrial facilities, the company says.
“The hotter the temperature of your compost pile, the faster the materials in your pile will decompose,” the company states on its website.
If the compost pile does not get as hot as 55ºC, the bag will still break down but it will just take longer, the company claims. The company received some negative feedback from some home composters but added that others have reported successful composting of the packets in their back yards.
Following the new bag launch, however, Frito-Lay immediately started receiving positive feedback back from customers, says Brad Rodgers, Frito-Lay’s R&D director.
In terms of production, switching to the PLA material was simple, Rodgers adds, with only minor adjustments made to the manufacturing process.
Home Composting of SunChips Bags Requires High Temperatures
May 20, 2011