Testing Packaging Compostability Claims: Week 5

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It won’t be long now until there my experiment is over. I dug up my two brands of 100% compostable packaging and the Boulder Canyon package was so limp that I couldn’t find it initially and thought briefly that it might have actually decomposed. I did eventually find it — it looks much like a wet napkin — and sure enough, we’re nearing the end.

For those who may not have been following my experiment, I decided to test the compostability claims of SunChips and Boulder Canyon, both of which claim that their bags are 100% compostable. Although the post title says Week 5, it’s really been closer to six or seven weeks from the start.  The Boulder Canyon bag is behaving nicely. It began decomposing almost immediately, with visible signs of decomposition within the first week.

I can’t say as much for the SunChips bag. The company claims that it will decompose in a “hot, active” compost pile within 14 weeks. Although I don’t exactly have a “hot, active” compost pile (I don’t turn it), my pile is certainly active. I have worms and centipedes and all sorts of bugs quite busy in the midst of my grass and eggshells and snack chip bags.

Boulder Canyon made no promises that I could see about how long it would take the bag to decompose, but as you can see, it’s on the closing end of the deal. SunChips, on the other hand, said 14 weeks in a “hot, active” pile. We’re halfway there, and as far as I can tell, there is not the faintest sign of decomposition.

Makes me wonder about SunChips’ decision to pull the bag from the market. If the bag really decomposed quickly and well in the hands of the average consumer, I wonder if the company would have left it on the market? But the fact that the bag has not even started to decompose halfway through the supposed decomposition period (at least in my experiment) makes me wonder what might be going on behind the scenes.

Maybe the company’s decision isn’t all about the noise.

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