Bulk bags are used for storing a host of products – right from agricultural produce such as grains, wheat, sugar, fruits, vegetables, to chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and more. Small stores and warehouse trading businesses won’t be able to go on with their business without bulk bags.
They are also one of the most useful, versatile, durable, and reliable ways of packing and storing products and commodities. They’re often selected because they provide flexible and practical support.
In recent years, however, manufacturers are being urged to follow a certain set of requirements so their bulk bags can be considered sustainable. If you want to learn more about these requirements, you might want to read on:
Using Reusable, Biodegradable, Natural Fabrics
Bulk bags are typically made of woven polypropylene strands. This material makes for the sturdy mesh finish of bulk bags. Manufacturers usually choose to use this kind of material because it helps prevent these bags from becoming damp. Dampness can cause mold to accumulate inside the bulk bags. And, before you know it, they start spoiling the produce you put inside your bulk bags.
Ask a manufacturer if they make their sustainable bulk bags out of reusable, biodegradable, and natural fiber raw materials. Some manufacturers such as Palmetto Industries International produce a wide range of reusable and biodegradable bulk bags.
One way to make sure that your bulk bags are sustainable is to use materials that make them reusable. The material used to make bulk bags will largely determine whether or not it is reusable, although its construction type is also a factor. Reusable bags contribute to sustainability because they can be used repeatedly. This solution eliminates the need to use disposable plastic or synthetic fabric bags.
Biodegradable raw materials are those that can safely break down. This happens when the fabric breaks apart into smaller pieces at the molecular level. This way, the bulk bags won’t be a threat to the environment when they’re disposed of. Some examples of biodegradable raw materials are paper and natural fibers.
Natural fibers are a sound solution for making your bulk bags sustainable. Cotton, jute, bamboo fiber, and other plant-based fibers are the best examples of natural materials. These natural fabrics are made by processing natural fibers from the harvested plants. Such fibers are processed into thread and then woven into fabric, which is then used to construct bags. Bulk bags made from natural fibers often have this textured look of traditional fabrics.
Most sustainable bulk bags are breathable by design, but you’ll have to ask your manufacturer for the right solutions for your products. There are products that need the bulk bags to be more breathable while being stored, as well as when they’re being transported and shipped.
First of all, to ensure that your manufacturer is using sustainable solutions for your bulk bag, you should ask them if their bulk bags have a United Nations (UN) certification. Such UN-certified bulk bags are designed according to the specifications set by the United Nations, which contain requirements for the transportation and storage of hazardous materials. To satisfy this requirement and obtain UN certification, manufacturers need to put their bulk bags under a series of rigorous testing methods.
Rigorous Testing For UN Certification
To pass these tests and obtain UN certification, bulk bags should be intentionally and specifically designed to meet the requirements for handling hazardous materials. These requirements are enumerated in Packaging Groups II and III in Chapter 9 of the United Nations ‘Orange Book.’ These chapters enumerate and discuss the requirements for handling hazardous materials.
Eco-conscious shoppers can actually help by checking out the products and brands they buy. They can make sure that these brands use materials and bulk bags that are made from sustainable materials, which passed the certification tests. Here are some of the types of rigorous tests that raw materials for bulk bags should undergo before they’re allowed to make and manufacture FIBC bulk bags:
- Vibration Testing – In this test, the bulk bags undergo a rigorous vibration test that will last for 60 minutes. To pass the test, the bulk bags must not rupture and should have no leakage.
- Top Lift Testing – Here, bulk bags are lifted from the top and held on for about 5 minutes. They must maintain their integrity with a Safe Working Load of 6:1. A bag shouldn’t lose any of its contents nor suffer any permanent deformation.
- Stack Testing – A filled bag is further given a top load that should have a weight of about 1.8x the combined maximum gross mass, which is permissible to be stacked on top of the bulk bag. The bag shouldn’t deteriorate and lose any of its contents. This test will go on for 24 hours.
- Drop Testing – Bulk bags will be dropped from three different heights, but they shouldn’t lose any of their contents. The specific heights will be designated based on the packaging group.
- Topple Testing – In this testing, bags are toppled from a specified height but it shouldn’t lose any of their contents. This height will be based on the packaging group. The bulk bag being tested.
- Righting Testing – This is used to test the bulk bag by lifting it to an upright position from its side. The bag shouldn’t sustain any damage.
- Tear Testing – This test is used to determine how the bulk bag will perform after sustaining torn or punctured parts. The bulk bags will be given 45 angle punctures. The cut shouldn’t lengthen or widen by more than one-fourth of its original length.
Takeaway: Breathable & Sustainable Bulk Bags
It’s probably something that isn’t given much thought but the fact is that most agricultural and food products need to be contained in breathable bags when they’re being stored and transported. Breathable and sustainable bulk bags have to be designed specifically for this purpose. They’re made to contain bulk items yet prevent dampness and moisture from ruining them.
In addition, manufacturers should also be conscious of the need to use sustainable solutions for their bulk bag materials, which should be tested and certified. International standards require manufacturers to comply with UN certification. Bulk bags should undergo these tests.