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A “green” but noisy compostable SunChips bag.

A biodegradable SunChips bag made from plant material that was billed as 100% compostable.

The noise of the bag — due to an unusual molecular structure that makes the bag more rigid — has been compared to everything from lawnmowers to jet engines 90 – 95dB.

Join if you DO agree it’s noisy that on the active Facebook group with more 44,000 friends of “Sorry But I Can’t Hear You Over This SunChips Bag.

Why so Loud? Because it’s the latest and greatest in chip-packaging technology, made of polylactic acid, a corn-based biopolymer that only takes about three months to decompose in optimal landfill conditions. WSJ explains:

The new polymers have a higher “glass transition temperature,” which is when a polymer goes from a harder, glasslike state to a rubber state. Because the transition to rubberiness happens a bit above room temperature, the bag is “kind of crispy and crunchy,” says [Brad Rodgers, Frito-Lay‘s North American manager of sustainable packaging.]

One of the new biodegradable SunChips bags, after spending 12 weeks in a compost heap
One of the new biodegradable SunChips bags, after spending 12 weeks in a compost heap

Sunchips Compost Test

Decibel (Loudness) Comparison Chart

Here are some interesting numbers, collected from a variety of sources, that help one to understand the volume levels of various sources and how they can affect our hearing.

Environmental Noise
Weakest sound heard 0dB
Whisper Quiet Library 30dB
Normal conversation (3-5′) 60-70dB
Telephone dial tone 80dB
City Traffic (inside car) 85dB
Train whistle at 500′, Truck Traffic 90dB
Subway train at 200′ 95dB
Level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss 90 – 95dB
Power mower at 3′ 107dB
Snowmobile, Motorcycle 100dB
Power saw at 3′ 110dB
Sandblasting, Loud Rock Concert 115dB
Pain begins 125dB
Pneumatic riveter at 4′ 125dB
Even short term exposure can cause permanent damage – Loudest recommended exposure WITH hearing protection 140dB
Jet engine at 100′, Gun Blast 140dB
Death of hearing tissue 180dB
Loudest sound possible 194dB

 

OSHA Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure
Hours per day Sound level
8 90dB
6 92dB
4 95dB
3 97dB
2 100dB
1.5 102dB
1 105dB
.5 110dB
.25 or less 115dB

 

Perceptions of Increases in Decibel Level
Imperceptible Change 1dB
 Barely Perceptible Change 3dB
Clearly Noticeable Change 5dB
About Twice as Loud 10dB
About Four Times as Loud 20dB

 

Sound Levels of Music
Normal piano practice 60 -70dB
Fortissimo Singer, 3′ 70dB
Chamber music, small auditorium 75 – 85dB
Piano Fortissimo 84 – 103dB
Violin 82 – 92dB
Cello 85 -111dB
Oboe 95-112dB
Flute  92 -103dB
Piccolo 90 -106dB
Clarinet 85 – 114dB
French horn 90 – 106dB
Trombone 85 – 114dB
Tympani & bass drum 106dB
Walkman on 5/10 94dB
Symphonic music peak 120 – 137dB
Amplifier rock, 4-6′ 120dB
Rock music peak 150dB

NOTES: