SunChips’ biodegradable bag hit snack shelves this past Earth Day and has been making a lot of noise ever since. Literally. The excessively loud crackle of the new packaging has inspired a rash of less-than-chipper-sounding YouTube videos and Facebook pages. People have compared the bag sound to sirens, and an Air Force pilot said it’s louder than the cockpit of his airplane.
Watch the Today Show — and me! — break down the issue of the biodegradable bag:
The new chip bag is made from plant material instead of plastic polymers but clocks in at 95 decibels (about the same as a New York subway). The loudness is a trade-off for the fact that it decomposes in 14 weeks in industrial compost settings. The average chip bag could take over 100 years to degrade.
In the months since its launch, there have been a lot of people hating on the bag. Is it green backlash? Who knows. The good news here, backlash or not, is that people may be increasingly skeptical of products. We’re not just buying anything anymore. That kind of healthy skepticism is just the thing the sustainability movement needs.
All change — sustainable change included — involves a period of adjustment. We need voices that are heard inside and outside of the sustainability movement. Hopefully more of us will follow in this bag’s footsteps and get loud about green. But we also hope new innovations will help quiet down the bag itself.