Green Scene: Noise Polluting Chips, Toxic Cups & Neurotoxic Veggie Burgers


Three sacred cows from the eco-food world – sustainable packaging, compostable coffee cups and veggie burgers – have recently landed on alert lists.

Sound storm

When Frito-Lay’s research and development chief Mike Zbuchalski signed off on the totally compostable Sun Chips bag, he obviously didn’t realize its crunchy sound effects would inspire dozens of snarky YouTube videos (plus warnings of hearing loss) a few weeks after it hit the market. Our friends at the Greenwash Brigade suggest composting the bags with a large, loud tractor.

Bad chemistry

Another packaging faux pas involves the Dixie PerfecTouch insulated cup. Georgia Pacific touts it as “commercially compostable,” but according to the Greenwashing blog, the cup is made of non-compostable polyethylene and has not passed the necessary tests to be certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute – a must for the compostabilty claim. Two words for GP packaging prez Terry Cinotte: false advertising.

Mind-blowing meals

Turns out most veggie burgers are not a kinder, gentler companion for fries. Most of them are made with the neurotoxin hexane, which is also an EPA-registered air pollutant according to Mother Jones. Nobody knows for sure if the hexane residue in the patties is enough to cause nervous system disorders like those suffered by workers exposed to it in soy processing plants. Among the culprit brands is Amy’s Kitchen; good thing Amy Berliner’s favorite food is pizza.

Click and cry

The European Union stamped its eco-label seal of approval on two brands of copy paper made from timber logged from a rapidly disappearing Sumatran rainforest.

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment in Liz Barrett’s news column, Green Scene, covering what’s fascinating in green weekly.

Image: ingridtaylar