Chips and snacks bags


Not so long ago in the Netherlands, chips and snack bags were taken directly to the waste incinerator. There was nothing to begin with. First let’s dispel a myth, which I also believed in: the chips bag does not consist of a layer of plastic and a layer of aluminum. 

The shiny inside of the bag has ‘evaporated’ onto the plastic layer. Nevertheless, this aluminum vaporized layer was the reason the bag could not be recycled.

Fortunately, in 2023, recycling companies are not standing still. In Germany it has been done for some time and now there is also a way in the Netherlands to recycle the bags to make scaffolding boards and roadside posts. So-called pellets are also made from this for the production of potting soil bags, for example. And now let’s hope that the manufacturer does not want to make white potting soil bags, as I said in my blog entry “The making of… Roots & Fungus”

So it is possible to recycle, but, says the recycling company itself, it is not easy. As nice as it is that more and more can be recycled, I still think it’s a good idea to look at alternatives and new materials, such as bio plastics or paper bags with a beeswax layer on the inside or something. Until then, I will be helping to upcycle chip bags by making art on them.

More art is made of chips bags and candy wrappers. For example, last year (2022) I was at the Paper Biennale in Museum Rijswijk and saw work by Tracey Bush. She makes, among other things, flower arrangements and collage works from this type of packaging material.

Online, I also came across a chicken made from chips bags and a pig made from plastic bags. The maker is not known, but is listed among the “African Recycling Artists” 

Ironically, I did my first painting on a chip bag with acrylic paint, just to see if that would work. Stretching the bag is the hardest part. I don’t think I’ll ever get it completely flat, but after asking for advice in an artistic online group, people thought the lumpiness had something artistic. That’s why I didn’t really look further for possibilities to get this out.

Painting Acrylic on a chips bag

Bumps, wrinkles and folds are embraced and integrated into the final work.


Right now I am the only one painting on the bags. I hope there are more soon, because there really are a lot of chips bags. When I tell people what I do, they often say: oh, you have a great excuse to buy and eat lots of chips. Too bad….

That is precisely not what I want, because with such an action you encourage chip manufacturers to produce more bags, while I want to keep them out of the environment. Yes, I’m happy with chips bag I get, but I’d be even happier if I couldn’t paint on them anymore, because they’re no longer around.