Who says Facebook doesn’t have power? Several groups, such as “I wanted sunchips, but my roommate was sleeping…”, pointed out the loud, crackling noise made by Frito-Lay Sun Chip bags when opened.
On Earth Day last year, Frito-Lay switched to a biodegradable polymer called polylactic acid (PLA) for the bags in a move to show its support of environmentally friendly programs. The problem is that PLA has a tight molecular structure and that creates noise when bags are crumpled. A jet pilot posted a video called “Potato Chip Technology That Destroys Your Hearing”.
Frito-Lay heard the noise, and has withdrawn the compostable packaging for five of the six varieties of the chips. PLA will be retained for the original plain flavor. There was no comment on how sales were affected by the problem.
There are a few problems with all of this:
1) Is Frito-Lay really committed to helping the environment, or was use of PLA just a marketing ploy? Frito-Lay also played the green card with a press release touting use of solar power at a plant in California.
2) The preceding question is reinforced by the fact that compostabilty for this type of packaging requires specialized composting facilities not very available in the United States, or elsewhere for that matter. The marketing for the bag gave the impression these bags could break down just about anywhere.
3) Many media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, said that PLA replaced plastic. PLA is a plastic-it’s a plastic made from plants not oil.