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TerraCycle and FritoLay Transform Chip Bags Into Cool Products

5/18/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: recycle, chip bags, landfills, products

I have kids. And every once in a while, I have to let go of my desire to feed them only locally grown, organic, good-for-you snacks. Letting them eat Fritos is just one more thing I said I’d never do—before I had kids—but found next to impossible in reality. 

Now I don’t have to feel quite so guilty about the environmental impacts of my kids’ snacking. TerraCycle is partnering with Frito-Lay North America to collect used chip bags and turn them into a variety of consumer products and green building materials. TerraCycle is an upcycling company, meaning that it uses waste in its existing form to create new products. Recycling, by contrast, breaks down the materials before new products are created. 

TerraCycle’s goal is to collect 5 million chip bags this year. All of FritoLay’s chip brands—Lays, Doritos, Tostitos and others—are eligible for the program. TerraCycle will turn the bags into items such as purses, pencil cases and tote bags, which will be available at major retailers, such as Wal-Mart, by late 2009. 

TerraCycle Upcycling

TerraCycle and FritoLay have teamed up to turn used chips bags into new consumer products. Who knows, your snack bag today could be your tote bag tomorrow! Photo Courtesy TerraCycle 


To encourage people to participate in the program, Frito-Lay will donate 2 cents to a charity of choice for each chip bag sent to TerraCycle—and it’ll even pay the postage. The program is limited to FritoLay employees and up to 100,000 consumers, so the company is asking people to join, form or captain one of 1,000 Chip Bag Brigades if they would like to participate. Because the amount of brigades will be limited at first, FritoLay has said it would give priority to mothers and college students with a passion for the environment. 

The new partnership with TerraCycle reflects FritoLay’s efforts to make its products more eco-friendly. In the past five years, FritoLay has reduced the amount of plastic used in its packaging by 10 percent, eliminating 12 million pounds of material used to make the chip bags. In April the company announced that its Sun Chips will be sold in a fully compostable bag made from plant-based renewable resources by 2010. 

So as my kids pop open another bag, I know it may not be the best thing for their health, but at least the bag their chips came in won’t spend the next 100 years clogging up the landfill.

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