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Compostable Potato Chip Bags

Updated on April 22, 2010

I'm usually not one to immediately jump on the so-called "green bandwagon," despite a fairly strong interest in the environment, and in the conservation and preservation of our natural resources. Certainly I am a strong proponent of recycling. But being that I am also fairly frugal, I must consider price somewhere in the bigger picture.

Don't get me wrong. I definitely agree that there is a value in the premium we pay in certain situations. I certainly talk enough about that when I'm making my argument for buying American made products, for example. And there is, unquestionably, much in the way of value in helping the environment as well.

I also think, however, that in an innovative and creative, business wise country such as ours, we can find ways to deliver environmentally conscious products and packaging in a seamless way, and it should be what we strive to do. It shouldn't have to hurt one's wallet necessarily in order to do some good. And company's who truly wish to capitalize on any green agenda should have a real focus on the environment which could be easily perceived through their own involvement with promoting and encouraging a step in that direction. It's not just enough to say you're green to market your product to an environmentally conscious demographic; you need to be green, and market the product in some ways as an ambassador of the environment, and keep prices in step with similar, non-green competitor's products.

That's why a press release from The Inventure Group, a maker of snack food products, brought a bit of a smile to my face. Their brand of potato chips, Boulder Canyon, which also happen to be in the "healthier snacks" category because of their natural cooking process, zero cholesterol, and zero trans fats, are now introducing what the company believes is the first compostable packaging made for the natural snack food category.

According to the press release, the compostable packaging can be dealt with in several environmentally friendly ways, including home composting, can be recycled through approved organic recycling programs, or can be incinerated at an incineration plant.

While the press release doesn’t address it, even if the packaging is simply tossed out with the regular garbage, it will likely break down at a faster rate than a normal potato chip package might, considering the bag is made primarily from wood pulp. If it’ll break down in your compost pile at home, it’ll certainly break down better in a landfill at some point.

I think with this packaging, Boulder Canyon has certainly achieved a seamless step toward green. By that I mean, you don’t necessarily want to have to change your habits—not that changing habits is a negative in some cases—in how you deal with the byproducts of our high consumerism, such as what do you do with the empty potato chip bag once you’ve enjoyed the contents. And especially with the current state of the economy, high unemployment, as well as taking into consideration that a bag of potato chips really is, already, a bit of a luxury item, you don’t want to have to shell out much more money for a greener bag either. In the case of the Boulder Canyon brand of potato chips, the price per ounce for the 7.5 oz. compostable package will be essentially the same as the price per ounce for the standard 5 oz. package. And again, while the bag is intended to be composted, I think I've already made my case for it having a better chance for decomposition in a landfill.

There is a strong argument, as well, that if the packaging proves successful, the Inventure Group may begin using the packaging for other products within their portfolio—though this is purely speculation—and other companies may catch on as well, thereby driving down further any premium costs that may be associated with using the packaging, furthering it's seamless introduction into the mainstream.

Going green is a good thing. It’s especially good when it doesn’t have to hurt to do it. Perhaps the next greatest innovation may be a package I can eat once I’m done with the chips. I suppose that one will just have to be a wait and see deal.


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    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Definitely good for the environment in one way, but then there is the thought of noise pollution on these bags. As my sister put it to me, "My gosh, that is the noisiest bag I've ever handled! Or how about trying to watch tv while munching. It's hard enough to hear the t.v. when chomping on chips, let alone the overwhelming loudness of the crumpling bag!"

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image

      Coach handbgs 

      8 years ago

      Cool to know my kids are environmentalist and only eat Sun Chips due to their compostable bags, thanks for sharing!

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Harlan, not a bad idea.

      katiem, the only negative I will throw in on both Sun Chips and the Inventure Group's Boulder Canyon chips, is that if they REALLY believed in the positive impact, they'd make a strong push to package ALL of their products in these types of bags.

      Yeah, it could drive costs up in the short term. But they ARE the market for the packaging and their own demand would certainly push prices down.

      Of course, that would also mean shutting down current suppliers of traditional packaging. Always a catch. :)

      SpecialK, funny you mention the loudness of the bag. My sister pointed that little annoyance out as well. It's bad enough the CRUNCH!

      Jdunbar, I stand corrected Sis. In my comment back to you I said I didn't think the Sun Chip's packaging sounded like it was "compostable." They are. I had not seen the commercials for the compostable bag—course, I don't watch much TV, and what TV I do watch is usually DVRed, so I just skip through the ads.

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      I have never heard of this brand of chips. Here, the brand Sun Chips, has done the same thing. The only complaint I have heard is that the bag is really noisy. I bought a bag, and yes it does have a different sound and feel. I can live with both. I don't buy them often enough to see if there is a difference in cost, but I am going to find out since you brought it up. Thanks for a great hub!!

    • katiem2 profile image


      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      Cool to know my kids are environmentalist and only eat Sun Chips due to their compostable bags, nice to know they have an induldgent option. Thanks and Peace:)

    • Harlan Colt profile image

      Harlan Colt 

      8 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

      I want them to make product packaging that you can till into the garden as fertilizer instead of throwing it away. When they make that bag, life will be good!

      - Harlan

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      They are also VERY good chips Habee. They used to be harder to find, but lately they've been popping up all over the place. Besides the bag being environmentally friendly, the chips are less greasy than some of the other Inventure Group chip brands such as Poore Brother's, and Bob's Texas Style. They also happen to be, unfortunately, a bit higher priced than the former two as well. But, worth the premium if you ask me.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      lol. I know all too well what you are referring to. :) Noisy bags can be really annoying. Plus, in THIS case, Boulder Canyon are also very crunchy kettle cooked chips, so between the bag and the chip crunching it has the unique ability to gather an eye roll and a "do you mind?"

      Not sure the two bags are the same, BTW. The Boulder Canyon bag is made from wood pulp and, so far as I know uses no recycled material. The Sun Chips bag also doesn't sound like it's compostable.

      Great to see you!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      What a great idea! Thanks!

    • jdunbar profile image


      8 years ago

      Not sure if its the same thing, but we bought a bag of Sunchips made out of a recycled product. It is definitely not good in my house when trying to "sneak" a snack! You know, after the kids and hubby goes to bed and you want something to munch! My gosh, that is the noisiest bag I've ever handled! Or how about trying to watch tv while munching. Its hard enough to hear the t.v. when chomping on chips, let alone the overwhelming loudness of the crumpling bag! Great hub, like the idea just thought I would add a humurous element! :)

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I know there have been a few caveats posted here (thanks Harlan Colt), but still...if the flavor was right? Hmmm. Eating the bag...

      I don't know. I'm just saying. :)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      I cant eat many chips, little only, sometimes they are salty, how much more the bag hehehe, Nice one, Maita

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Ms Cheivous—thanks, and thanks for stopping by. Green is in these days it would seem. :)

      theherbivorehippi—I've had sea salt and cracked pepper, though not in the Boulder Canyon brand, but rather in the Poore Brother's brand, which is made by the same company BTW, and they were pretty good. Not sure if the PB brand still has the variety. Anyhow, just a slight bite, but nothing overpowering or lingering. Boulder Canyon are not as greasy as most potato chips are either, but very crunchy which I like. Thanks for stopping by and sharing a comment.

      BJBenson—it's especially difficult with these smaller 5 oz. or 7 oz. bags...why leave a few behind? Might as well just finish 'em up. lol. As for eating the bag itself, Harlan Colt in the comments above did leave a few caveats to that little concept that I hadn't considered. Great to see you.

      carolina muscle—I've had a few of those myself. Believe it or not we can start with Lays. They're so thin, to enjoy them I've got to draw handfuls into my mouth. Very messy and it makes me look terribly bad eating them. :)

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Some of the chips I've had, eating the bag might be more satisfying.. LOL ...... interesting post!!

    • BJBenson profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      If I could only eat the chip bag too. I already get into trouble eating too many chips. Great Hub.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      Very interesting! I don't eat potato chips but that Sea Salt and cracked pepper caught my eye! Am I so far out of the potato chip loop that I don't know these flavor exist? lol Great packaging idea and fabulous hub!

    • Ms Chievous profile image


      8 years ago from Wv

      Timely hub!

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Harlan—egads! I hadn't considered that. lol

      Ann—I'm a bit of a potato chip lover myself. :)

      Rismayanti—It's certainly one step in that direction. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Rismayanti profile image


      8 years ago from Tropical Island

      Save our planet... great hub

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      Amazing...and just when i thought i heard everything about "going green!" Great creative hub, springboard! And now I could do with a hand full, or two, or three, of potato chips!!!

    • Harlan Colt profile image

      Harlan Colt 

      8 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

      It's a great idea whose time has come. But eating the bag? No thank you. Why? - because the guy at the factory was picking his nose as he was stuffing them into the shipping box, and the guy who stuffs them on the rack at the store, was coughing his brains out with the latest local flu and didn't wash his hands when he went to the restroom.

      - Harlan

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Yes. I'll leave all of those points closed. ;) But the compostable bag is neat.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Springboard, It is interesting that they could make a bag that disintegrates faster than the chip. I'm not interesting in polishing of the plate I just ate food off of, and I have nothing to add to the edible panties, so thanks for a good hub

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Hmmm, I guess that would give new meaning to say, "kung pao platter," lol. As for the potato chip bag, you know if they ummm, well, you know, have edible panties and all...

      I'm just saying.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      I think the Chinese alredy have a plate that one can eat if one choses to do so, then again I'm not sure! If true why can't you eat a potato chip bag?

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      fine detailed hub read thanks


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