In April 2009, Frito-Lay launched an eco-friendly bag for its Sun Chips products to great fanfare, touting the bags' compostability, and the fact that they were made from plants not plastic. But, the bags soon became known for something besides their staunch environmentalism: Their noisiness. People complained. Facebook groups and YouTube videos mocked the bags' cacophonous nature. Sales of the snacks dropped by more than 11 percent in the course of a year. Now, Frito-Lay is returning to the old plastic bag for five of the six Sun Chips flavors, saying "We chose to respond to the consumer feedback but still want to show that we are committed." Smart move? (Watch a CBS report about the Sun Chips bags)
The Sun Chips bag is noise pollution: After performing tests on the problematic bags, CBS New York reports that they can yield noise levels greater than 100 decibels — more than a subway or a lawnmower, which weigh in at 90 and 85 decibels, respectively. Sure, the bag may be "healthy for our environment, but [it's] not so healthy" for our ears.
"Sun Chips bags: Louder than a NYC subway"
This is ridiculous: "Seriously? The company is bagging the bag because American couch potatoes can't hear their TVs over the sound of their chip sack," says Kate Sheppard in Mother Jones. I understand that Frito-Lay had to take action because of the decline in sales, but it's aggravating that "a little noise was apparently too much for Americans to handle" when it comes to helping the environment.
"Why we're doomed"
At least the effort was there: "It's too bad this experiment didn't work," says Andrew Price in Good, "but Frito-Lay certainly deserves credit for trying." And, there's "good news." Not all compostable chip bags need be noisy. Another chip company, Boulder Canyon, has made a quieter one using a wood polymer.
"Deafening compostable SunChips bag gets pulled"