Can We Be Environmentally Friendly? Frito-Lay Discontinues Biodegradable Bag

Can We Be Environmentally Friendly? Frito-Lay Discontinues Biodegradable Bag

By discontinuing the newest, 100%-compostable Sun Chips bag (and using it only for one flavor), Frito-Lay has demonstrated that it’s listening. But is it listening to the right people?

Biodegradable And Highly Undesirable

This year, the company repackaged its popular Sun Chips in a biodegradable bag. They began an ad campaign spilling over with hope and feel-good acoustic background music to tout its environmental responsibility (“An empty bag? Or a step towards a greener future?”) and attract socially responsible buyers to their product. But there was one problem: the bag was loud. Really loud. Customers bemoaned the extreme crinkling of the new packaging to the point where sales began to suffer. And Frito-Lay, being ever the good listeners, quickly abandoned their failing sales strategy.

It’s The Theory Of Environmental Responsibility

To us, this story is more about theory and practice than right and wrong, or better and worse. When the original commercials aired, showing a time-lapse biodegradation of the bag, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t approving—or at least interested. It was the best of both worlds: We could have our extraneously-packaged snack foods without visions of landfills dancing in our heads. But when it came to crunch time (pardon the pun), we bailed ship. Sure, in theory biodegradable bags were a great idea, but in practice we hated them. And we stopped buying them. And they stopped making them.

A Compromise Requires Sacrifice

It’s all well and good to value the intangible concept of “the environment,” but what we fail to remember is that we destroyed the earth we have by refusing to make compromises… like buying a crinkly bag. And yes, we know that a few thousand snack bags won’t reinvigorate the planet, but this isn’t the only case of us holding ground against environmental progress: look at the Illinois communities who were thrilled about the installation of local turbines, but now sue the turbine company due to noise pollution.

Money Speaks Louder Than Facebook Campaigns

It all comes down to dollars. There’s product development, and ad campaigns, and consumer enthusiasm (then consumer backlash), and lawsuits. Money speaks, and what it’s saying now is that we aren’t willing to sacrifice any of our convenience or comfort to help the environment. And Frito-Lay is listening.

Tell us in the comments: Will people ever be willing to make compromises for the environment, or will it have to be mandatory?

Image Credit: How Green Works

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