Chipping Away!

Chips! Ahh the wonderful taste of those spicy salty treats at 4.00 p.m. on a rainy evening! And how well they go with a little hot sauce, especially when I’m curled up watching a movie or chatting with a friend…

And what pretty shiny packaging!

Amidst all the running around to launch Green Homes and all the other stuff that happens over the course of a normal day, there’s no comfort food like my favourite pack of chips and bar(s) of chocolate. And so, I’ve realized, ‘going green’ will not be easy, even for the GreenLine team. Because with chips comes packaging, and with packaging comes a whole lot of problematic waste.

The average bag of potato chips is made of several layers, great for keeping the chips crunchy but not so great for the environment. The suspects are:

—A transparent film known as Surlyn, on which the brand name and cover pictures are printed

—A plastic layer made of stuff called Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP)

—A layer of plastic known as Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), which is a sealant

—Metallized BOPP, which gives the inside of the bag that shiny silver look

Now, while BOPP alone is recyclable, the combination of these various layers forms a non-recyclable material that will bio-degrade only after, well, nobody knows, but the estimate is 500 to 1000 years or more. You really don’t want to wait that long (my raddiwalla, for one, refused to even look at my collection of chip packets—kuch nahin ho sakta, kachre mein fek do, he told me).

So what are the options for snack lovers like me?

We could insist, as activists in the US have done, on environment-friendly packaging. SunChips, in fact, has acknowledged these demands and has invented a compostable bag for potato chips. But in India, this may take a while (a loooooooong while).

So it seems that the best way out, for now, is to just eat less of them! My first commitment to the Green Homes Movement, therefore, is to stop eating all potato chips, snacks and other treats that come in those non-recyclable, non-degradable packages.

And to do the earth, and my waistline, a favour.


Savio Silveira said…
How true! We never give a thought to the amount of damage this seemingly harmless packet does to the environment.

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