By my mathematical analysis, the new "100% compostable" Sun Chips bag is at least seven times louder than the chips themselves. That is, if I chomp down on a jaw-stretching stack of seven Sun Chips, the crunch! is still nowhere near as loud as the heavy-metal concert of crumpling noise produced if I merely touch the bag.
Such is the price of progress. No one will be able to sneak out to the kitchen for a midnight Sun Chip anymore without waking the dog, the kids and possibly the neighbors.
But that's probably a good thing—as is, I hope, the new Sun Chips bag. It is made of PLA, otherwise known as polylactic acid or polyactide. That's a polyester created from corn starch or sugarcane. I was proud to see that a Maine company, Woods End Laboratories of Mount Vernon, had helped Frito-lay (the maker of Sun Chips) develop and test the new bag. Woods End sounds like a progressive place; it's big into developing an energy source called biogas—methane captured from processing organic waste.
I've got plenty of waste. Assuming I'm a more or less typical American, I produce about 4.4 pounds of trash per day. Much of it will sit in tact in a landfill for between 500 years (a plastic grocery bag) and a million-plus years (a piece of styrofoam). Even longer if it's a piece of styrofoam buried inside a plastic bag.
I try to atone in part by maintaining a compost bin for organic matter. And that is where, at 8 this morning, I launched the Great Sun Chip Composting Test. I placed an empty Sun Chips bag onto the compost heap, covered it with grass and leaves, and dumped a bowl of kitchen slop on top. According to Frito-lay, if my compost bin maintains an optimal internal temperature (about 130 degrees) the bag should totally decompose in 13 weeks.
I'm not going to take my compost's temperature, but I will eagerly check in on the bag's condition. (Cue the composter's anthem: We will... we will... rot you!) Let's look ahead to a summer of nasty blog photos and circle Total Decomposition Day—September 1—on the calendar.
Just one question: What do you do with a Sun Chips bag if you don't have a compost heap?
People keep coming into the shop even though we aren't opening until June 21st. We've had groups from the Atlanta area (including a naturalist for the state of Georgia), Minneapolis and Toronto, all of whom loved the place. A good omen, I think...
Any of you ever try to correct a mistake in a Google map listing? Google has shown the Notebook as being in Bar Harbor, not Seal Harbor (huge difference) ever since we launched the shop. I thought I had solved the problem, but now Google shows TWO Naturalist's Notebooks, one in Bar Harbor and one in Seal Harbor. (And the lovely review that someone wrote about the shop is attached to the Bar Harbor listing.) All suggestions welcome!