Sun Chips Experiment Response

To those of you that followed my recent Sun Chips Compost Experiment (esp. the results), I thought you might find this of interest, a response letter from Frito-Lay. Basically, it gives the definition what they consider conditions for a home compost bin and composting tips on how to achieve that. While I kind of feel like they are missing the point of my letter (that I found their advertising campaign to be a bit of an exaggeration), I appreciate the response, clarification, and info.

Hi Wren,

Thank you for contacting Frito-Lay to share your comments about the 100% compostable SunChips package.

As you know, composting generates heat as a by-product. The temperature and rate of degradation will vary on how you maintain your compost pile. The hotter the temperature of your compost, the faster the materials in your pile will decompose. The SunChips compostable bag will break down in about 14 weeks if the compost temperature is maintained above 130F. If your compost pile does not get that hot, the package will still break down, but it will take longer.

It's important to maintain a good mix of "green" and "brown" materials in your compost bin. Try to add about one part "green" for every three parts "brown." The reasoning behind this is to balance the carbon to nitrogen ratio to encourage microbial activity.

Greens: fruit & veggie scraps, grass, garden clippings/flowers, green weeds
Browns: dry leaves, small twigs, straw/hay, sawdust, paper, soil/mulch/woodchips, coffee (include the filter), SunChips compostable bag (cut up)

Thicker, more fibrous items will compost faster if they are cut into smaller pieces before placing in the bin. The moisture level in your compost pile is another important variable for successful composting. Depending on the season and type of bin, you may need to water the compost several times a week.

Our home compost research found that the bigger compost bins (21 cu. ft and up) equals more efficient composting. Having a larger mass of organic materials will enable the pile to insulate itself and lose less heat from the surface, therefore increasing the rate of degradation.

Thank you again for your comments. We will continue to post composting information on www.sunchips.com.


Best regards,

Friday September 10 2010File under: environment, misc

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The End of Summer



[Aside from the upcoming 3 consecutive weekends of fun (soapbox, lopez juggling fest, and frisbee tournament,] summer is over. I think I'll go throw myself off a cliff.

Bummer video quality (although surprisingly good for a phone), so I apologize for that. Also, please accept my apology for the blatant filler content.
Tuesday September 7 2010File under: video, quarry

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Sun Chips Experiment Results

A couple of months ago, I embarked on a little truth in advertising experiment. I set out to investigate Sun Chips' claims on the home-compostability of their new packaging. (Previous blog post here.)

After the prescribed amount of time, I dug through the fully decomposed* and still fresh food scraps of my home compost bin and found the bag remains completely intact with a negligible amount of decomposing having occurred. While not surprised (I've tested companies' claims before (and after)), I was hoping this one would be different. Alas. So disappointed was I that I wrote to the company. Here's what I said.


Saturday September 4 2010File under: environment, misc

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FC 116 - Greasing Those Heavenly Wheels

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, folks. My excuse (and I like to think it is a good one) is that I've been working, like a real job, 40 hours, 9-5, and all that. While the feeling of accomplishment and paycheck is great, it sure doesn't leave much time for the finer points in life (like blog posts).

Anyhoo, I did have time to put together a comic. (If you think it subpar, we'll blame it again on the lack of time.) I don't suppose you remember FC 43, eh? Well, it was another gates of Heaven comic. Viewing the same subject drawn over 2 years apart* is kind of interesting.

Anyhoo, the whole working life thing shouldn't keep up for too much longer so hopefully I'll get back to living an interesting enough life that I can come up with 3 things to post about a week. Until then, I'll try to come up with some interesting filler. On an up note, it's Friday, and for the first time in a long time, that means something to me! Happy Friday to us all!
Thursday September 2 2010File under: comic

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Goober at Play

I was originally planning this post as a "Where am I?" post, which are always so fun. But with the whole sleeping around calendar, it makes it a little less of a challenge. But if you are feeling like a super sleuth, then I invite you to have a go without peeking. Then you can check if you're right.

The reason I skipped on the "Where am I?" aspect of it is that it is hard to frame the picture just right so there is enough info to make it solvable but not too much that it is easy. Instead, I justed ended up with a bunch of pictures of me looking like a goober. Luckily, all you need for a blog post is a theme and a picture or two, so this thing practically wrote itself.
Sunday August 29 2010File under: pics

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FC 115 - Hey Baby

Straight out of real life, this one. Not inspired by real life or the idea spurred by something in real life, but straight out of real life. A friend of mine actually said this (although I forget what her real sign is). Anyway, I laughed really hard until I saw that she wasn't joking. I explained to her why I thought it was so funny and asked her permission to use it as a comic. She said yes. So here it is.

Besides the look on the guy's face, I'm quite pleased with how this turned out. Using glasses on someone instead of having to draw eyes is so much easier. I'll have to do that always from now on. Luckily we all know that people who wear glasses (or contacts) are super cool.
Thursday August 26 2010File under: comic

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Coming Soon - SHBANG!


It's coming up on that time of year again, folks. In less than 3 weeks, Lookout Arts Quarry will be hosting the 3rd annual Off-Road Soapbox SH'BANG!!* Perhaps you've read about it here before: 2008, (pre) 2009. Now come be a part. Besides ridiculous cars hurtling down the hill, there will also be a circus show, bands, swimming*, food stands, and a wishing well! Besides all that, it is a great opportunity to check out the now world renowned Quarry. (I'd be glad to give you a personal tour.)

Any questions, any question at all, you can either post in the comments and I will respond, or contact me. I can tell you all about how to get there on the public bus (so you can save $20 on parking), what to expect, how awesome it will be, etc.
Wednesday August 25 2010File under: events, quarry

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Quote For Monday - Every Day

Every day is an adventure

I saw this on a bumper sticker while walking down NW Lovejoy in Portland this weekend. I wish I had my camera on me so I could document it and use it to spice up this Monday quote post, but alas. As is kind of the point with Monday quotes, this one is particularly relevant to my life right now. Why? Let me tell you...

Yesterday, I woke up in Portland in a nice downtown loft apartment*; breakfast with friends, losing a number of darts games due to a rigged balance* issue, a craigslist ride in a veggie oil powered Volkswagen*, and ending up on a houseboat in Seattle. Today, 3 early morning bus rides got me to Skagit Covnty Covrt Hovse where I am slated to sit for jury duty. Was this how I expected my last 2 days to pan out? Not even close. I was thinking trivia, sleeping in, internet nerdery, trivia again, etc. But it doesn't always play out the way we expect. Afterall, every day is an adventure.
Sunday August 22 2010File under: quote

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FC 114 - Stormy Weather

After doing up this comic, I'm halfway tempted to try this. Sure maybe not with my going to work clothes (ha!) but maybe with a few items just to see. And lord knows that I live in a pretty good place for such an experiment. Torrential rains, like they get in the Midwest would be better, but those can't be counted on. So keep an eye out this fall for a dude in a raincoat out hanging up clothes on the line.

Yet another comic without having to draw people. I love it! Maybe I'll start specializing in these exclustively. Lord knows it would save time (because we all know that my time is in high demand and every second saved is preciously put to better use elsewhere.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch Oprah and take a nap.
Thursday August 19 2010File under: comic

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250 Miles on Public Buses

I'm proud to say that I've now traversed Vancouver BC to Portland OR all by public bus. Most of the territory is my stomping ground, as I do the Anacortes to Olympia, Seattle to Bellingham, etc. routes frequently. Earlier this year, Ma and I did the Bellingham to Vancouver route once (remember?) to prove that it could be done. Well, yesterday, in much the same "anything is possible" vein, I took 10 buses (and a street car!) and 12 hours to go from Anacortes to Portland, all via public buses.

This 250-mile route is one that I've been dreaming about for some time, kind of the holy grail of public transport in my eyes. I'd heard about it but could never find the info online. Recently, Lower Columbia CAP got their act together and posted their schedule, so I could now be well informed. But the only way to prove it could be done was to do it, so I did.

To summarize, it cost $12.00 (about 1/3 of Greyhound and 1/4 of Amtrak) and took maybe twice as long as either. I had no hiccups and had plenty of layovers to get something to eat, stretch my legs, etc. I don't know that I want to get into the habit of doing it every time around, but knowing that it is there is, well, really nice. For me, public transportation represents accessibility and sustainability. Seeing these qualities in action in such an extreme way makes me smile. Now it's just a matter of getting people to use them!

Oh, and for those who want to see the breakdown of how to get from Anacortes to Portland by public buses, here's the how it's done.

Wednesday August 18 2010File under: transportation

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updated at 01:52 am Oct 23rd


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