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How Used Snack Bags Could Save Your Life

As this YouTube video hack of flexible packaging demonstrates, you may want to consider an option other than trashing those unrecyclable metallized snack bags.

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

March 6, 2024

What to do when you’ve eaten the last Doritos chip at the bottom of the bag? You’ll likely have little to no luck recycling that used multilayer aluminum-foil layered potato chips bag any place other than through a TerraCycle upcycling program.

Now there’s another option if you collect a bunch of them: Turn them into a potentially life-saving “space blanket” that can insulate and keep you warm. It may just save your life. Or someone else's.

That’s according to the two British brothers behind the YouTube hack stream, Brothers Make.

Here’s their takeaway from their unusual recycling experience: “Not only can crisp packets be recycled, the foil lining provides some great thermal insulation for projects where warmth is key.”

In the video, they use a standard clothes iron to fuse the metallized film sections together into a sleeping bag.

The result? “It actually works great and it’s incredibly easy to do,” they say.

One thing I learned is that the key to these thin insulating blankets aka films is that space — an air gap between your body and the film blanket — provides the insulation. The metallized barrier film retains and heat.

Comments ranged from the practical — suggesting adding insulating layers of bubble-style air-pocketed plastic film inside the snacks bag blanket — to the humorous, “I want curtains made from this new material!!!”.

They do add a film layer for practicality to make it less flimsy and easier to heat-seal together.

Lacking the time and patience, you can buy a space blanket on Amazon for about $15, but what’s the fun of that?

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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