All About UN Bulk Bags/FIBCs

All About UN Bulk Bags/FIBCs

In certain situations involving the storage and transport of hazardous materials, a standard FIBC won’t suffice. Standard bags are chemically resistant from manufacture because of the woven polypropylene in which they are constructed; certain materials are too corrosive and/or dangerous to use a standard bag.

For those situations, the United Nations has created labeling, identification, testing, and specification standards for bulk bags. These bags have been labeled by the industry as UN bags. 


What is a UN bulk bag?

A UN bulk bag is a flexible intermediate bulk container specifically designed to transport/store hazardous materials that cannot be stored or transported in a standard bag. UN bags must meet the various specifications and standards set out by the UN in order to be properly classified as UN bags. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Identification, tagging, and labeling requirements
  2. Specifications on max volume
  3. High testing standards

By following the UN specified testing standards and being properly tagged and labeled, a bag can be sold under the name UN bulk bag.


Hazardous Materials

UN bags are also classified by the hazardous materials they are designed to carry or are currently carrying. These are separated into 8 different classes of hazardous materials:

  1. Class 4.1: Flammable solids, self reactive substances and desensitized explosives
  2. Class 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  3. Class 4.3: Substances that emit flammable gases when they come in contact with water
  4. Class 5.1: Substances that oxidize
  5. Class 5.2: Organic peroxides
  6. Class 6.1: Toxic substances
  7. Class 8: Corrosive substances
  8. Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

The hazardous materials you will be transporting/storing in the UN bag are crucial to determining what bag you need. Work with your supplier to make sure you’re getting the right bag for your product/application.


UN Bulk Bag/FIBC Testing Procedures

Due to the often volatile and dangerous nature of a UN bag’s contents, UN bags must pass rigorous and invasive testing procedures in order to ensure proper safety when handling dangerous materials.

UN bags must pass the following testing processes filled to 95% of capacity:

  1. Vibration: 60 minute vibration test
  2. Top Lift: Lifted from top and/or side and maintain 6:1 load for 5 mins.
  3. Stacking: 24 hour stacking test with no content loss
  4. Drop: No content loss at 3 different drop heights
  5. Topple: Toppled on any part of top without content loss
  6. Righting: FIBC on it’s side, lifted into the upright position, without damage to the bag
  7. Tear: Knife cut cannot spread more than 25% of initial length


Thanks for reading!

un guide image.pngThanks for reading all about UN bags! We hope you found this both useful and informative.

Download our Buyer's Guide to UN Bulk Bags and learn all you need to know about purchasing UN Certified Bulk Bags. By downloading, you'll get access to: 

  1. What makes a UN certified bulk bag different? 
  2. UN Bulk Bag ID tag break down
  3. UN Bulk Bag rigorous testing procedures
  4. Access to a comprehensive Hazardous Materials Chart

Be sure to read this guide before purchasing UN bulk bags! 


June 29, 2017

Categories: UN Certified Bulk Bags

About the Author: Janette Lais

Janette is the Director of sourcing for National Bulk bag. Janette is also a graduate of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Janette has been in the packaging industry since 2004 and has held many roles such as Operations and purchasing manager, Purchasing management project manager. Before entering the packaging industry, Janette spends 19 years at a manufacturing facility where she held production scheduling, product manager, and purchasing manager position. Janette is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking and fishing in her free time. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends and her three dogs.

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