The hemp industry in the United States is growing fast and creating tons of new jobs and opportunities in the process. With that rapid growth has come with a rush of new entrepreneurs, growers, and processors. However, specific challenges related to the handling, packing, transportation, and storage of hemp as a product have also come with this rapid industry growth.
The specific attributes and properties of hemp as a product, and biomass in general, present specific challenges in order to keep the product fresh and viable for processing and distribution. What are those properties? What’s the best way to handle and pack hemp and biomass? How can FIBCs help with this process? Let’s explore.
Using Liners and Nitrogen Packing
One of the largest packaging, transport, and storage challenges facing hemp and biomass growers pertains to the shelf life of the product itself. Hemp is a biological plant, that once harvested, has a limited shelf life and will go bad or lose potency after a certain period of time (this varies of course but is nonetheless true with all plants). Because of this, precautions must be taken when determining what kind of packaging to use and how to pack it.
One of the most common and effective methods we at National Bulk Bag see our hemp customers use is a nitrogen system combined with a polyethylene bulk bag liner. This method is extremely effective at extending the shelf life of the hemp or biomass product in the bag by effectively removing the oxygen (oxygen is a reactive gas that contributes to the breakdown of biomass) contained in the air we breathe. It has also been shown to specifically preserve the cannabinoids found in hemp products so that the first bag processed is as potent as the last bag processed. Consider this strongly if you are processing hemp into CBD oils/extracts and your product will not be processed soon after harvest.
The process works by either inserting a liner into an FIBC or purchasing an FIBC with a preinstalled liner. The product is then packed into the lined bag like a standard FIBC. The user then injects nitrogen into the bag liner containing the product to displace the air (containing oxygen). The bag liner is then sealed air-tight (very important!) to properly contain the product and nitrogen gas inside the liner and FIBC.
What Bag Types Should You Use?
If you don’t plan on using a bag with liner setup as described above, what kind of bag do we recommend? We recommend avoiding a coating in order to allow the product to breathe. This is especially important for hemp (and all biomass) because of the increased risk of molding if the product receives no air flow as even dried hemp has some moisture content.
Another option is a vented bag. Vented bags allow even more air flow versus a standard non-coated bag. This can often come down to preference of the user, but it is recommended that hemp and biomass producers use a solution that allows airflow to minimize the risk of molding.
Talk to Your Distributor?
We talk about how important the distributor/customer relationship is and we can’t stress it enough. No matter if you’re a long-time purchaser or first-time buyer, talk to your distributor. Ask questions about the different solutions they have available. Make sure they have industry specific knowledge about the various challenges hemp growers/processors face. This will ensure you’re getting the right bag for your product and application at all times.
Everything You Need to Know about Using FIBCs with Hemp.
The booming hemp industry is creating unique challenges for growers and processors alike. With the lack of reliable education on the internet, the hemp industry is commonly asking questions like how do I properly store my hemp and biomass? How can I extend my product’s shelf-life? How can I reduce the risk of mold and contamination? Is there an easier way to empty my bulk bags?
In our new Hemp Grower's Guide to FIBCS, we discuss how FIBCs can help address the various challenges hemp growers face.