KILLINGLY — PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay facility in Killingly is seeing green — certification, that is. The manufacturing site is the first in Connecticut to be awarded LEED Gold existing building status from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Frito-Lay has seven LEED Gold existing buildings across the country, including its headquarters in Plano, Tex.

To earn the green seal, Frito Lay has since 1999 reduced natural gas consumption by 46 percent per pound of product, and electricity by ten percent per pound. The reductions came by installing new technologies including a co-generation system, which the company says also reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Waste heat from potato chip production processes is used for warming the plant during the winter.

Water use in corn cooking has been reduced by nearly 15 percent since 1999 as well.

Overall recycling measures at the plant have resulted in sending less than one percent of the facility’s solid waste to landfills.

Frito-Lay has operated its 289,000-square-foot facility in Killingly for 31 years, where it produces snacks such as Lays potato chips, Fritos corn chips, Tostitos tortilla chips, and Doritos tortilla chips.

 While Lays Potato Chips once advertised that its chips were so fresh they made a prominent snapping sound when eaten, consumers demanded and will now get a quieter SunChips bag.

Designed from plant matter and 100-percent compostable (it will degrade within three months), the bag was introduced nearly two years ago but pulled late last year after consumers complained it was too loud. The formula has now been modified and the bag re-introduced.

Response to the original compostable bag across the Internet included one YouTube video from Air Force pilot J. Scot Heathman, who said of the SunChips bag on his technology  blog,  "Potato Chip Technology That Destroys Your Hearing," adding “It is louder than the cockpit of my jet.”

We await reaction to the new bag from the Facebook group with more than 44,000 friends that goes by the name of "Sorry But I Can't Hear You Over This SunChips Bag."