PLANO, TEXAS — Frito-Lay will introduce the first fully compostable snack chip bag made from plant-based materials in 2010 through its SunChips line.

"Packaging is clearly the most visible interaction consumers have with Frito-Lay’s brands," said Jay Gehring, vice-president of packaging R.&D. at Frito-Lay North America. "To make packaging that would interact differently in the environment, we had to change the composition of packaging and invent key technologies. Using plant-based renewable materials, we have a promising solution that will transform packaging and significantly impact the billions of snack food bags produced annually."

The company is taking the first step in packaging changes this month as the outer layer of packing on 10.5-oz SunChips snack bags will be made with a compostable, plant-based renewable material. By Earth Day of next year, Frito-Lay plans to introduce a package for SunChips where all layers are made from such materials so the package is 100% compostable.

When the package is totally compostable, it will completely decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a compost pile or bin. The company also anticipates the switch will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the production of the packaging and the elimination of petroleum-based packaging material.