SunChips’ New 100% Compostable Bag Is Ear-Damagingly Loud

SunChips’ New 100% Compostable Bag Is Ear-Damagingly Loud

There’s one kinda big problem with SunChips’ new 100 per cent compostable bag: It’s noisy as hell. An Air Force pilot says it’s louder than the cockpit of his jet, and this video test pegs it at a potentially damaging 95 decibels.

Yes, this bag of chips crinkles up to 95 decibels, about 5dB higher than the level when you need to start worrying about sustained hearing loss. By way of comparison, a bag of Tostitos Scoops only measured 77dB.

So why the in the world is the new bag so loud? The new bag is made of polylactic acid, a corn-based biopolymer that decomposes in about three months in a landfill. Wall Street Journal explains:

The new polymers have a higher "glass transition temperature," which is when a polymer goes from a harder, glasslike state to a rubber state. Because the transition to rubberiness happens a bit above room temperature, the bag is "kind of crispy and crunchy," says [Brad Rodgers, Frito-Lay's North American manager of sustainable packaging.]

Very eco-friendly! But also, as it happens, very ear-unfriendly. A Facebook group titled "SORRY BUT I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THIS SUN CHIPS BAG" - they're shouting because the bag is so loud - currently has over 30,000 members.

Rodgers is hard at work trying to make the packaging quieter, but in the meantime the company has been outfitting supermarket shelves that carry the chips with stickers that read: "Yes, the bag is loud, that's what change sounds like." Nah, Frito, change sounds like "jingle, jingle, jingle" and it's only 70 decibels. [Wall Street Journal via GreenBiz]