PepsiCo To Make Biodegradable Chip Bag From Potato Peels

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The British brand of PepsiCo potato chips, Walkers crisps, has announced that it will be creating a new biodegradable chip bag from its potato remains, according to a BBC interview with PepsiCo UK & Ireland President Richard Evans.

Walkers Crisps has announced that is experimenting with a new, biodegradable chip bag made from potatoes. Photo: Flickr/charliekwalker

The potato peelings would otherwise be used as animal food, but the company believes it can deliver potato-based bags to UK shelves in as little as 18 months.


PepsiCo is also modifying what goes into the bags. It will use potatoes that require less water to make the chips. This will result in a 50 percent reduction in water usage by 2015. It will also serve as a pilot project for Pepsi’s worldwide chip brands.

In the U.S., PepsiCo markets potato chips under the FritoLay brand. The company made news earlier this year when it introduced compostable packaging for SunChips bags, plastic made from polylactic acid (PLA) that is designed to break down in compost systems.

FritoLay has shifted much of that packaging back to traditional plastic, based on user feedback that the bags were too loud.

Producing a biodegradable chip bag holds significance because of the challenge in recycling traditional chip bags. They are typically a plastic product lined with aluminum foil, which requires separation before any material can be recycled. In the U.S., Terracycle offers a mail-in program for potato chip bag reuse.


PepsiCo’s largest competitor, Coca-Cola, has also introduced bioplastics into its supply chain. Last year, the company last year introduced plant-based PET bottles for both its soda and water products.

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Trey Granger

Trey Granger is a former senior waste stream analyst for Earth911.
Trey Granger

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Comments

  1. How about Pepsi stops making Aquafina water bottles that are probably a far worse problem in landfills than chip bags. Honestly, water bottles? Why do we still even have these?

  2. I aggree with Kathy. That is a worse problem and not just pepsi but all these companies that are not making biodegradeable bottles nor recycleable bottles. I still dont understand why we still have these. They need to start at the comporations.

    Also in addition to puffy stuff making biodegradeable products these potato remains bags can be used to store/pack computer equipment. Ive seen so many PC’s and computer monitors and other products arriving at locations iwth the standard non recycleable wrappers and styrofoam and plastic .

  3. I tried one of the Sunchips “compostable” bags this summer in my compost and was rather disappointed. I didn’t have a problem with the noise so much as it did not break down in my compost pile even though I cut it up into small pieces first. My compost got pretty hot but perhaps not hot enough. Maybe it was designed to break down in a municiple compost system but it didn’t in mine. now I have to fish out the pieces from my compost.
    I hope the Walker Crisps bags do better job of biodegrading in home compost systems. Anyway, I applaud any effort to develop biodegradable eco-friendly packaging! We learn by experimenting.

  4. Really an awesome step by Pepsi.

    Kathy and Creepy Critter, you should appreciate the first step towards the green technology. It is good to put forward ideas instead of criticism. Please put forward the idea that what should be used instead of these bottles which can be recycled and have same capabilities as the normal plastic bottles.

    Its easier to criticize but its best to put forward ideas to eradicate the issue.

  5. Corporations are profit (consumer) driven. If people stop demanding plastic water bottles, corporations will stop producing them. There are already alternatives out there, but apparently, the demand for these is lower than what it is for the plastic bottles.

  6. Our good friend Andrew Odom at http://www.anotherkindofdrew.com performed an experimental documentary regarding Frito-Lay and theirr Sun Chips compostable bag. Frito-Lay contacted him shortly after posting his video in various locations on the net. Check out the link to his experiment. Hot links are provided to the segments….http://anotherkindofdrew.com/blog/2010/10/05/sun-chips-compostable-bags-die-a-quiet-death/ There is a great amount of discussion here as well.

  7. It’s all about what fickle American consumers want. Most want to be trendy and pretend to follow the “green/all natural” craze. But when it really comes down to it there not willing to listen to loud chip bags, baffling!?!? Reminds me of a story…While spending time in Canada this summer I was amazed at the differences in products produced by the same companies for different countries. For example while looking for my fave “simply fruit” jelly & not finding it, I started reading labels to avoid HFCS. I noticed that a well know co that uses HFCS in the US for their standard jellies does not use any HFCS in Canada. And they didn’t even advertise that it was corn syrup free. Very Interesting!

    I’m not really sure what is different about the “plant based” Sun Chips bag vs the “potato based” Walker’s bag (will theirs be loud too?) but I hope they cont to work on the US product. And I’m glad to read that their keeping the original sun chip flavor in the current “loud” biodegradable bag, as I will cont to buy it every few weeks.

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