Sun Chip Bag Vermicomposting

Sun Chips Compostable Bag

There’s no denying the fact that I am a SERIOUS foodie! At times this results in me being a serious junk-foodie as well.

Needless to say, when junk food starts coming in compostable bags it’s inevitable that I’m going to be all over it like a Red Worm on a horse turd!

I first learned about the new compostable Sun Chips bags while flipping through one of my eco-gardening magazines (if I remember correctly). It was only a matter of days later that my wife showed up (after a grocery shopping expedition) with a bag of Sun Chips in hand and a big smile on her face. She is wise in the ways of the worm man, and knows the best way to my heart is through my stomach and my compost heap.

So what’s the dealio with these bags, anyway?

Let’s start with the propaganda on the package (ok I’m just kidding, ‘Sun Chips marketing people’!)…

Here are some of the interesting bits of info I found:

“You’re holding the world’s first 100% compostable chip bag of its kind. It’s made from more than 90% renewable, plant-based materials and it breaks down completely into compost in a hot, active compost pile.”

So, what does it do in a mesophilic (cooler) worm composting bed?

That’s what I’m planning to find out!

WARNING: Do NOT purchase this product if you have ANY desire to keep your chip eating habits under the radar! If you try and eat chips from this bag in the middle of the night while everyone else is sleeping you WILL be found out! Not only is this the world’s first compostable chip bag, but I’m pretty sure it’s the loudest bag on the face of the planet!

They even have a warning on the bag!

“This bag is a little noisy because it’s made from compostable materials”

I laughed when I first read that. I mean c’mon, how loud can a chip bag really be? Seriously!


It’s LOUD!!!!

Ok – let’s get a bit more serious here. I don’t have any complex plans for trying to compost this bag. I won’t be employing any secret ninja worm composting techniques to try and speed up the process. I simply want to see IF it will break down in a worm bed, and if so, how long this will take.

All I did was dig a hole in my big wooden worm bin (in my yard) – which is absolutely loaded with Red Worms at the moment – then covered it back up.

I bought another bag (for experimental purposes!!!), and will likely put it in one of my windrow beds to see if there is any difference!

Unleashing the Red Worm Horde
Unleashing the Red Worm horde! Each arrow represents a worm I was able to find in the picture (kind like a game of “Find Waldo Wormy”) – plenty more where those came from!

My prediction is that if this bag does break down, it will take a fair bit longer than the 13 weeks shown on the chip bag. I’ve added plenty of compostable “BioBags” to my systems over the last couple of years, and they are fairly slow to break down under normal worm composting conditions.

Whatever the case may be, it should be fun! And that’s what counts!

Stay tuned!

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  1. Well Mr. B,
    I will also accept this challenge.
    13 weeks we’ll see.

    • John Duffy
    • May 7, 2010

    Hey Bentley,
    I think the Waldo Wormy thing is a great idea! You could incorporate other critters commonly found in worm beds and market this eco-friendly game to elementary schools, garden clubs and such. It would make a great Christmas gift for fellow vermiphiles…It would have to be made from compostable materials of course.
    My wife is still shaking her head in disbelief about the worm slippers I asked for for Father’s Day. She kinda gives me that “strange” look as if to question my remaining sanity…I guess some folks just don’t appreciate worms 😉

    • John in Huntington Beach
    • May 7, 2010

    When you think about it, it probably is a good idea that compostable bags take awhile to break down or else they might disintegrate on your shelf!! 8^)

    • Anna
    • May 8, 2010

    I tried (hot) composting one of these bags and it did indeed break down within the 13 week window. It was very noticeable when I turned the pile the first 2 times, but on the third turning (6 weeks later), it had either composted completely or was no longer recognizable as it’s previous, unnaturally loud self.

  2. Any bets on how many weeks these bags will break down in mesophilic compost pile? I wonder what the difference will be in a vermicompost bin compared to a bin with black soldier file larvae. In Florida, my bins are now converting to bsfl dominated bins. Maybe I should take the challenge to compare the decomposition in this respect. Do you think we can get Sun Chips to “chip in” some free product coupons to us to compensate for our volunteer efforts? ; – )

    • Tom Bergstrand
    • May 9, 2010

    I will surely attest to the noise that those bags make . Last night I started to set up the coffee maker as I always do . As I reached up on to the refridgerator to get the coffee and it sounded like the ceiling was crumbling down . I froze and the noise stopped . I moved a bit more and there was more noise . Finally I realized what it was . My wife had bought a bag of these chips and after opening them placed them on the refridgerator behind the coffee container . Later I mentioned it to her and she told me “Oh yeah , I noticed that they do make a little noise”. A “little” noise ??? A gut shot grizzly makes a “little” noise . These things could be used as fire alarms . I moved them away from the coffee .

  3. I can see the headline now: “Worm Farming leads to Weight Gain”

    I have a bag that has a few crumbs left, guess I will try half in one of my hot compost bins and one in a worm bin.

    • Bentley
    • May 11, 2010

    MARK – That’s great! Keep me posted!
    JOHN D – That DOES sound like a fun game for kids (ok, so I’m a little biased! haha). I want worm slippers too!!
    JOHN in HB – GOOD point!! haha
    ANNA – Thanks for sharing your Sun Chip experience. I’m starting to think that these Sun Chip marketing people are onto something here – at least in terms of getting us composting addicts to purchase their product! lol
    JOHN H (Ok, I’m started to get weirded out here! What is it about Sun Chips that makes all the Johns want to comment? lol) – I am thinking it’s going to take a LONG time, but ya never know. I would definitely love to hear if the soldier flies make a difference! I wonder if they would contribute to the physical breakdown of it a lot more than the worms?
    TOM – That is too funny! I had a similar experience – likely around the time I was setting up OUR coffee maker before bed – only difference is that I was actually trying to sneak some chips! haha! It might as well have been a car alarm going off. I seem to recall feeling a lot of irrational anger towards the bag, and the Sun Chips people shortly thereafter.
    HEATHER – Good thing it’s all in the name of science, right? (wink wink)
    Do keep us posted! Seems we have a nice little group of folks testing this out, so it will be interesting to compare the results

  4. Gosh, I have strips of sleigh bells hanging in my most accessible windows, so we’ll hear those burglars coming. Maybe I’ll switch to Sunchip bags! (I have a greyhound and a whippet, but they only warn me if chipmunks are scampering by.)

  5. The funny thing about “compostable” bags is that they don’t have to be loud. I bought a bag of Boulder Canyon Chips (based in Colorado) and recorded the sound. Check out the post I wrote about it ( I also have a recording of the “loud” bag. Perhaps it is gimmicky to make it loud, but if products like this are going to catch on, the more they can replicate current standards (i.e. look like the regular ol bag) the better. Although my wife suggested we put the Boulder Chips bag in our worm bin, I have not tried it yet. I’m still struggling to feed them and keep them housed in our storage unit. They’re multiplying!

    • ~Diana~
    • May 18, 2010

    If this chip bag is made from plastic will that be good to feed to the worms?

  6. Diana,
    Good question, though I think you missed the mention that 90% of the bag is from plant-based materials. I would suspect that newspaper and other materials that we supply our worms have similar percentages. Certain bacteria do consume petroleum derived products, so we’ll see how well it goes with the remaining non-plant based materials.

    • Barb V.
    • May 20, 2010

    How funny….this experiment has gotten more responses than any others. I bought some sunchips just to have a bag to compost. So as of tomorrow morning [munch, munch] I will start my composting [drum roll] We’ll see how California ‘reds’ compare to Canadian ‘reds’. My [in-ground pit] worms have been amping-up on horse manure, banana peels, cherimoya skins, pumkin ‘burritos’. When I lift the carpet ‘lid’ on their pit, they are rar’in to go….READY for the ‘big contest’.

    • ~Diana~
    • May 20, 2010

    Barb this is just to funny…. I’ve had my Sun Chip bag in the compost for about 2 weeks now…

  7. I just finished the last of a bag of Sun Chips myself (garden salsa, no less) and can’t wait to get it into my kitchen worm bin. I bought them as much to see how the bag composted as to eat the chips.

  8. We participated an experiment even before the bag was officially released into the main market. All I have is a small sheet. It went into the worm bin Nov 1, 2009 and Nothing major, in appearance, happened for another 3 months. Then the clear plastic started to separate from the foil layer. It took another month to complete the separation. Now after 8 months, shreds of the bags are still visible but it is breaking down finally and slowly.

    • Genevieve
    • September 13, 2010

    Good luck with the experiment, but I think it will take a ridiculously long time to break down in a cool worm bin, like taropal said. I bought some mushrooms in a plastic-like compostable carton and tried composting those in my worm bin. Many weeks later, I took them out because there was no noticeable difference. How I wish I had a place for a hot compost pile as well as my worm bin!

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