Green Noise

Reusable grocery bags may be unsanitary but at least they’re quiet.

The same cannot be said for Frito Lay’s new environmentally friendly SunChips bag. The bag is so noisy that the company, after lots of consumer backlash (including Facebook campaigns), is ditching the effort. (My kids ate a bag of these chips in the car not long ago and it was so noisy I could barely drive. It wasn’t just loud, but a quality of loud that was impossible to ignore, like 100 little old ladies in the theater all uncrinkling their hard candies at once.)

Surely this doesn’t rank up there with bird-killing windmills (a relatively scarce occurrence), or the species-endangering Endangered Species Act. But I am guessing the SunChips affair is a harbinger of our increasingly green future. (HT: Jason Goede)


"like 100 little old ladies in the theater all uncrinkling their hard candies at once"

Good stuff!

Ian Kemmish

Every problem is an opportunity. Simply market the noisy bags to dieters.


agreed, but i liked being able to toss them out the window while i was driving...after all they are biodegradeable.


I'd disagree --- I have seen other bags that were biodegradeable in the same manner a that are not that insanely loud. They are as loud as normal bags plastic bags. The Sunchips bag was IMHO the result of picking green and inexpensive and not caring about side issues like noisiness.

Marc Stoiber

First off, I think the comments are hilarious. I love the 'market to dieters' solution. True lateral thinking genius!

I work in green innovation, and was at the Sustainable Brands conference 2 years ago when the bag was announced - to much fanfare and celebration. We all thought it nailed an insight - bring your green innovation close to the consumer, and give them a chance to participate.

The bag's failure (and I hope it's a 'fail fast, learn, and then succeed next time' type failure) underlines a key insight into the evolving green consumer. They want green, but don't want to sacrifice at all to get it.

This might be a bit exasperating, but as far as innovation goes, it presents a great problem to solve. How to innovate sustainably, creating products that are SIGNIFICANTLY better than their non-green brethren.

Hats off to Sunchips for trying. Look forward to seeing the 2.0 version.

Marc Stoiber



Wind turbines too:


A quality of noise that was too loud to ignore??? I can't believe someone actually took the time to write that down. Marc, you say that people want to be green and yet not sacrifice anything. I say those people are the failure, not the bag. I find it ridiculous and I feel ashamed that there are actually people out there that refuse to purchase Sun Chips because the bag crinkles too loudly. It just makes me feel sick and disappointed in humanity.

Jeff #3

Whe I saw the title I thought it was in reference to the wind turbine noises......

Which is just what we need, another reason for the NIMBY crowd to drag us kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.


Plastic bags sit in landfills forever. Sunchips made a bag that you could compost for your own garden. Why does the noise out weigh the environmental impact?

Paul Clapham

No, Sunchips didn't make a bag that you could compost for your own garden. If you read the fine print on the bag (which I did) you will see that "compostable" means it has to be sent to an industrial composting site.

I took that to mean that if I put it in my back yard composter, it wouldn't be fully composted. I was going to call my city's garbage department -- they do take compostable things away and compost them -- but in the end I just threw the bag into the garbage.

So yeah, good try Sunchips, but right now it smells like greenwashing to me. If they come back with a better design then that will prove me wrong, and I would like to see that happen.

levi funk

oh finally. I literally have not been buying sun-chips, which I love, because of that bag.


@ billy and Christina - Are you guys really that naive? Why do you think (almost) no one uses recycled toilet paper? Because its not comfy enough. If being "green" isn't practically effortless it will not catch on. Period. That is the reality you have to accept. Depressing? I suppose, but deal with it.


Of course, the greenest thing you could do would be to not buy chips.


Two words: crinkle contest.

Instant success.


Maybe part of the problem is that people who're really interested in being "green" tend not to buy chips?


So I'm not the only person who hates that noise. Good to know.

I'm not sure why reuseable bags are the target of such vitrol this week. By the same token, aprons, tablecloths and oven mitts should set off alarm bells as being unsanitary, and they are used almost every day, giving the consumer less time to put them in the wash. Why are we not warning the reader about those hazards?

I am taking a risk here and trying to remember my readings of the Endangered Species Act; however I'm quite sure that the act does, in fact, not contain any laws which prohibit habitat alteration by private landowners. Someone correct me if I'm wrong (with references to the ESA, please).

And just FYI, the red-cockaded woodpecker now may be considered for delisting. So I guess the ESA did in fact, help the bird. From the IUCN:

This species qualifies as Vulnerable because remaining populations are small and declining. However, recent data suggests that the population size is now above the threshold for Vulnerable and population trends have reversed, and should this be confirmed the species may warrant downlisting in the future".


Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team

Buy the local residents $1,000 ear plugs, $3,000 earmuffs or a $5,000 Bose Home StereoSound System. And the volume of complaints about noise will magically dissipate.

Money can do that.


Sun chips green bags = Noisy
Green packaging = noisy.

Anybody see the fallacy in the argument.


"No, Sunchips didn't make a bag that you could compost for your own garden. If you read the fine print on the bag (which I did) you will see that "compostable" means it has to be sent to an industrial composting site."

And few places have municipal industrial composting. The bags are forbidden in our local composting facility because they can handle green waste, but not these bags.

But the ads with the bags falling on the ground and turning into dirt sure did make it look it just happily biodegraded.


Yes, finally someone else who shares my pain. The biggest issue for me is my little dog's allergies. Our bigger (oldest) dog grew up in a house where most people-food was shared. We had to kick that habit when we discovered the puppy had allergies to something - to be fair, neither gets people food now.

This means that when daddy wants a snack, his choices are be sneaky or be swarmed. In order to avoid the pain of seeing those two pairs of puppy dog eyes begging for a scrap, I have had to give up SunChips - the bag is just too much of a giveaway.