Published online: May 01, 2009
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Frito-Lay's SunChips brand says it's changing the future of snack food packaging by introducing plant-based renewable materials for the outer layer.

SunChips says from 2010 it will introduce the first fully compostable snack chip bag in a change designed to significantly improve the environmental impact of its packaging.

It has taken the first step towards this transformational packaging. The outer layer of packaging on 10.5-oz size SunChips snacks bags will be made with a compostable, plant-based renewable material, polylactic acid (PLA).

By Earth Day 2010, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division plans to rollout a package for its SunChips snacks where all layers are made from PLA material so the package is 100 percent compostable.

It will fully decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost pile or bin.

"Packaging is clearly the most visible interaction consumers have with Frito-Lay's brands," said Jay Gehring, vice president, packaging R&D, Frito-Lay North America.

"To make packaging that would interact differently in the environment we had to change the composition of packaging and invent key technologies. Using plant-based renewable materials, we have a promising solution that will transform packaging and significantly impact the billions of snack food bags produced annually."

Over the past few years, Frito-Lay's packaging initiatives have made some significant strides. This includes reducing the amount of plastic in packaging by 10 percent over the last five years, and eliminating 12 million pounds of materials annually used to make the snack bags.

The packaging innovation is line with the commitment by PepsiCo, Frito-Lay's parent, to reduce the company's impact on the environment through water, energy and packaging initiatives.

Elsewhere, SunChips and National Geographic announced the launch of the Green Effect, a national initiative that encourages consumers to take their own small steps toward helping the planet. Consumers can submit their ideas on how to make their communities greener, for the chance to win one of five $20,000 grants that will help turn their green ideas into reality.