We don’t bring a lot of snacks and chips into the house because we generally find them irresistible. Still, we do indulge from time to time in potato chips, corn chips and SunChips. Recently at the big grocery store, I found SunChips offered in a 100% compostable bag. This product innovation was news to me since we don’t usually watch broadcast television or read the sorts of magazines in which their advertisements might appear. Because we like SunChips and because I like compost experiments, I bought a bag. Soon enough, we had an empty bag and I had yet another compost experiment.
My compost experiments so far have been grand successes on one scale. There was the straw hat. The worn out but still intact hat went into the compost tumbler; compost came out. The only real failure was on my part. I didn’t follow up on studying the decomposition of the hat or capturing its breakdown in photos. Pretty much everything we put into compost breaks down. When we empty the compost tumbler, we usually sift the compost through a screen to catch the big bits and occasional stone. We toss the not-yet-broken-down organic matter back into the tumbler for another go-round.
One of the best things about gardening is the opportunity to start over again, try again, experiment, innovate and do things differently. It’s spring, and we get another chance at starting over. This gardening season will be marked by several composting experiments, beginning with the SunChips bag. What else have I got up my sleeve? I’ve saved an old hemp shower curtain that will be used as landscaping-type cloth this summer. I have two cotton shirts that are beyond salvaging that will also meet an experiment-y end. My scheme is that one will go in the compost and the other will be used as ground cover. I want to track and time their dissolution too. I also have an old, sad, torn and worn leather wallet of Jim’s that is earmarked for composting. I’ve read that leather will compost and I want to see it for myself. Perhaps if I tie a nylon string to the wallet, I’ll be able to find it amid the jumbled compost and track it, at least for a while.
For now, I’ve got a SunChip bag in the square compost bin. I had a little look-see around the gardening web blogs I frequent and discovered that other compost advocates have taken up the challenge to experiment with composting a SunChip bag as well. Mr. McGregor’s Daughter is trying the compost experiment as are the bloggers at The Green Garbage Project. I found many blogs with positive comments on the compostable bag but few all-out science experiments. I’ll continue to research this topic.
With each trip to the compost pile, I dig away enough compost to snap a picture and then bury the SunChips bag a little further under kitchen scraps and yard waste. I’ll keep you posted.