Less than six months after pulling their compostable bags due to consumer complaints over the noisy packaging, SunChips today shouted from the rooftops that it has created a new version. And it promises to keep it down this time.
The move last fall to withdraw the green plant-based packaging from all flavor of chips except original, drew both praise and scorn. After all, it had only been 18 months since the company had championed its new eco-cred with the bags — the first of its kind that could be broken down in an active compost bin in as little as 14 weeks.
The move bummed out environmentalists, with many upset that SunChips would so quickly abandon its sustainability goals over fragile ears.
Even Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" mocked the decision saying, “Luckily we can save the planet from unpleasant sound by using new quiet coal technologies and breakthroughs in silent oil. And if we just do that much, eventually the ice caps will melt, the seas will rise, and our coastal cities will be underwater, where it’s nice and quiet.”
Adding insult to injury, SunChips Canada decided to keep the noisy bags, asking people to consider the environment first and just deal with the extra noise. “The trade-off is pretty clear. A little more noise, for a little less waste, and a little more green,” said Helmi Ansari, sustainability leader for Frito-Lay Canada. They even offered customers free earplugs.
With all this drama, SunChips could have just simply taken its time coming up with a new solution, but to the company's credit, it got to work even before announcing a recall.
According to the AP, the company found that by changing the razor-thin adhesive used in separating the inside of the bag from the outside with all the logos and other information, it created a kind of noise barrier.
That new discovery led to the decibel levels of the packaging going from 80-85 decibels to just around 70 decibels — or the noise level of a standard chip bag.
The new compostable bags are making their way into stores but will only be available in original flavor for now. Understandably, SunChips is waiting to hear whether any critical noise is generated before rolling out the new packaging to the rest of its product line.