Chip Bag Sound

by Bart on March 13, 2011

A few months ago I chanced upon news blurb posted somewhere concerning potato chip packaging. According to the article, the makers of the Sun Chips brand of potato chips had started selling their chips in an eco-friendly bag made from plant-based materials. Rather than lingering as litter in landfills for generations to come, the bags are designed to decompose into compost after a suitable amount of time. But high hopes for this excellent innovation were dimmed when complaints started coming in that the bags are way too loud! It seems they produce hugely distractingly irritating scrunching and crackling noises with routine handling. As a result, they are now being phased out.

Naturally, I was eager to hear what these bags sound like.  So I went to the grocery store and found my way to the potato chips aisle. There I found several varieties of Sun Chips which had already been changed back to traditional packaging, plus one flavor still in the eco-friendly, crackle-prone bags. I bought ‘em, brought ‘em home, and started scrunching and crackling.

And it’s true – these bags really are quite loud, and the sound has a crispness to it that’s more satisfying, to my ear than other types of scrunchable plastic packaging. Definite possibilities here for music and sound-work! But it remains to be seen how long the compostable bags will be available – perhaps they’ll be off the shelves entirely by the time you read this – and also how long an existing bag will retain its sound qualities before decomposition sets in.

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