Yes! We have achieved deterioration! This is week three of my unofficial, unscientific test of 100% compostable packaging claims from SunChips and Boulder Canyon. Three weeks ago, I buried the bags in my home compost pile, along with a Doritos bag just for fun, and I have been digging them up to see how they are doing.
Although it’s mid-October, the weather has been holding nicely. It’s been averaging in the 60s, with a combination of sun and rain, so while I don’t actively turn the pile, it’s got lots of raw materials to work with.
This week, only three weeks into the experiment, I am seeing real deterioration of the Boulder Canyon bag.
I have been unsuccessful in finding out the substrate used for the SunChips bag. My assumption was corn, and after additional poking at SunChips, I have gotten confirmation only that the substrate is “vegetable-based.” The Boulder Canyon bag, on the other hand, is made from tree-fiber. The top layer of the packaging is already deteriorating, with large chunks already deteriorated or pulled away. By contrast, the SunChips bag looks no different from the non-compostable Doritos bag sitting next to it.
My assumption is that SunChips went for corn-based packaging rather than tree fiber for shelf life. Although tree-fiber-based bags can be made with various compostable liners, the issue is the longevity of the performance characteristics they exhibit. SunChips, as a larger company with larger volumes, is going to require more longevity than a smaller, regional company and therefore may not be able to “get away with” using fiber-based substrates.
Once I get an answer to that question, I’ll let you know. See y’all next week. Now that deterioration has started, it’s going to get more fun!