On August 8, the kids and I became consumer detectives as we buried a Sun Chips bag to see if it would break down. We don’t have a compost heap, since our neighborhood has organic compost collection, so we buried it about a foot down with some vegetable waste and melon rinds and watered it to kick the decomposing microbes into full gear. The hot August sun added heat to the brew and we imagined the bag slowly breaking down, like it does in the commercials.
Yesterday, after about 7 weeks, we unearthed the bag to see how the experiment was going. All of the organic compost we’d buried with the bag was gone-turned to black dirt, but to our eyes the Sun Chips bag looked almost as good as new, except where the shovel had torn it. It may be breaking down, but it’s hard to tell. We reburied it. It’s supposed to take 13 weeks to completely break down under ideal conditions, but we thought we’d see more progress.
I’ll admit, we didn’t have ideal conditions (a hot compost heap), but I wonder how many garbage dumps have ideal conditions? I don’t know. We’ll see what happens when we dig it up again next summer.
At least Frito Lay is making an effort. (I’m sure the bag will eventually break down.)
I think it’s good to teach kids to question companies’ claims. After all, you can’t believe everything you read.