1979 Doritos bag washes up on North Carolina trail

Photo: memoriesarecaptured (iStock)

There are a lot of current efforts aiming to stem the amount of waste in oceans and elsewhere, like banning single-use plastic items and moving toward reusable or recyclable straws. Maybe you’re wondering what all the fuss is about. Here’s a good and upsetting example: WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina reports that an interesting piece of trash recently washed up on a nature trail on North Carolina’s Harkers Island.

As reported on the Cape Lookout National Seashore Facebook page, the finders were cleaning up debris on the Soundside Harkers trail after a storm. They thought that the bag looked kind of odd compared to other Doritos packaging, until they noticed the date at the bottom of the bag: 1979. That Facebook post wisely notes, “While this was sort of a neat find due to its age, it serves as a reminder that plastic trash lasts a long time, in this case almost 40 years!”

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Many Facebook commenters then wondered whether the bag was in fact that old or was instead part of a recent Doritos “throwback” campaign that used retro-style packaging, and if the “1979” was the date of the Frito-Lay trademark. After all, wouldn’t a 40-year-old bag be more faded, with the lettering smeared? But the resolute Cape Lookout National Seashore stood by its original finding: “We checked with Frito-Lay corporate office and they confirmed that this is an original bag not a part of their current throwback marketing.”

The lesson here: Garbage is forever. Try to reuse and/or recycle anything you can. Or, as that original 1979 bag puts it: “Don’t be a Litterbug/Keep America Beautiful.”

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About the author

Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.