Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs) – also known as bulk bags – are cost effective and environmentally friendly alternatives to other large containers because of their potential to be used multiple times as well as be recycled. But how do I know when I can reuse my bags? If I can recycle them, how and when can I recycle them? Let’s review the guidelines of bag reuse as well as outline when and how you can recycle your bags.
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When can I reuse my bulk bag?
Flexible intermediate bulk containers are built specifically to be flexible yet durable and, in certain circumstances, built to be used more than one time. A standard bag is rated at a 5:1 safety factor ratio (SFR) which means that it has the ability to hold 5 times the amount of its safe working load (SWL). 5:1 safety ratio bags are single use bags. Bags that are designed for multiple uses are made with a higher safety factor ratio of 6:1. Only bags with a SFR of 6:1 are designed for multiple uses.
When reusing bags, FIBCA (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association) suggests that bags should only be reused within a “Closed Loop” system where the bag is cleaned, reconditioned and qualified for reuse to handle the same product in the same application for which the bag was originally designed.
To safely reuse FIBCs, FIBCA suggests these guidelines should be followed:
- Remove all foreign matter from the bags interior.
- Ensure statically held dust is less than 4 ounces total.
- Replace liner if applicable.
- Replace web ties.
- Replace labels and tickets critical to safe bag use.
- Replace cord-locks if necessary.
- Lift strap damage.
- Damp, wet, mold.
- Wood splinters.
- Printing is smeared, faded or otherwise unreadable.
- The manufacturer should maintain a record of origin, product used in the bag and the quantity of uses or turns.
- Bags should be randomly selected for top lift testing. The frequency and quantity shall be determined by the manufacturer and/or user based on their specific situation.
When and how can I recycle my bulk bag?
Most bags are made from virgin polypropylene, which is a common plastic that can be re-purposed into other plastic products. Most bags are suitable for recycling including those used to store construction materials, chemicals, grains, fertilizers, pigments and plastics. For recycling purposes, the bags are classified into different recycling grades:
- Grade A: Clean and bright white. Colored stitching and handles are allowed.
- Grade B: Not as clean but still predominantly white with minimal coloring.
- Grade C: Dirty and or colored.
Bags are collected in large quantities by industrial recycling companies therefore recycling is usually only feasible for businesses that use large quantities of bags or ones that have the ability to store bags over time.
Bags that have a 6:1 safety factor ratio are manufactured for multiple uses but remember to always exercise caution when reusing FIBCs and to follow FIBCA’s suggested reuse guidelines. Bulk bags are also eco-friendly recyclable containers that can be re-purposed into other plastic products. Recycling used Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers is a great way to minimize your carbon footprint and run a more environmentally friendly operation.
Interested in learning more about 6:1 safety factor ratio multi-use bags? Get in touch with one of our experts by calling us at 1-888-237-4224 or by clicking here and filling out the form on the “Get Quote” page. Our experts know that every client and application is unique and they work with you to determine whether one of our 50+ in-stock bags or a custom manufactured bag is best for your specific needs.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading about how to reuse and recycle FIBCs! We hope you found this both useful and informative.
Safety and reliability are our top priorities. Each bag that we sell has a safe working load (SWL). To make sure the product you’re packing will not exceed the SWL of the bag you’re interested in, you’ll need to know the bulk density of the product you’re packing as well as the cubic foot capacity of the bag.
Click the button below to download our Product Weight Guide and FIBC Volume Calculator to help you determine how much weight a specific bag will hold.