BULK BAG FAQ’s
Is there a difference between bulk bags and FIBCs?
No. Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container or FIBCs for short is the official name and
description of bulk bags. Different companies list them differently, some prefer to use the
abbreviation above while others simply call them bulk bags.
What are bulk bags made from?
Most modern bulk bags are made from a thick woven polypropylene product, which is adjustable and incredibly tough. Polypropylene is known for its durability and various other qualities, making it ideal for bulk bags. Polypropylene itself is made from a resin taken from petroleum.
Is anything else used in conjunction with polypropylene?
Yes, foil and polythene liners can also be used inside of a bulk bag. Polyester and nylon has also been used in the past. Bulk bags can be modified by the manufacturers depending on their client needs.
Do bulk bags come in different sizes?
Yes of course, some bulk bags are designed for smaller loads while some can be as large as skips. Manufacturers can modify their bulk bags to suit the customer own requirements. This is one of the things that make them so desired by clients. Providers of skips and plastic totes are not as accommodating. Of course the SWL (safe working load) needs to always be taken into account.
What does safe working load mean?
This is an indicator on the safety label on what maximum weight can be lifted to ensure a safe working load. Exceeding this could be considered dangerous or counter productive. This is based on rigorous tests conducted by the manufacturers before they are certified an considered fit for purpose before sale.
What does a UV inhibitor (UVI) do?
This means Ultraviolet Inhibitor, which is an additive that is added to the original resin. The UVI helps protect the material from harmful UV rays and prevents the bulk bags from breaking down and becoming brittle or unsafe whilst stored in direct sunlight.
Can bulk bags be reused?
Bulk bags can be reused as long as they are still in good condition. Reusing a torn or worn bag can be counter productive. If in doubt do not risk it and use a new one. Naturally it depends on what the bag was used for, where it’s been kept and for how long. It can be more cost effective in the long run to use a new bag than risking it by using an old one. If the
load breaks and spills out in transit then this could be a costly mistake. Bulk bags are meant to be durable but they are not indestructible.
Can bulk bags be kept outside?
Yes they can be, but as stated above UV rays can be harmful to bulk bags. UVI can help immensely, they cannot protect it forever, as exposure to UV rays will always slowly degrade polypropylene. The sun is hotter in some regions than others so UVI addition rate is always dependent on location, storage times and expected lifespan. Extreme weather conditions will always be more harmful than calmer conditions. Bulk bags are often used in the construction industry for waste disposal, therefore being kept outside is essential but should be limited to when it is absolutely required.
Can bulk bags be reused after being kept outside?
Yes but this depends on how long they have been there. If a bulk bag is badly degraded then it may be time to cut your losses and use a new one. Bulk bags are generally quite cheap so replacing one is not a massive loss, but using any product sparingly is helpful for a companies bottom line. To this end bulk bags should be looked after so they can be used more than once. Over use is unsafe and is not recommended.
Can I patch a bulk bag that has sustained damage?
Yes but this is not recommended. There is no guarantee the patch will hold. This could cause more problems than it is worth. Use a new bulk bag to be safe.
Can a bulk bag be recycled?
Yes, bulk bags are made from 100% polypropylene and therefore are also 100% recyclable. This is excellent news for companies trying to cultivate an eco friendly image and reduce their carbon footprint.
What types of bulk bags are there?
Can cranes or forklifts lift bulk bags?
Yes, bulk bags can be fitted with a lifting sleeve for this very purpose. They can also be specially made to accommodate this. At the point of sale these options are made aware to customers who need bulk bags for specific lifting requirements. For other images of various lifting methods, look at out bulk bag pages where you will find images at the bottom of the page, to help you understand the different types.
Can the fabric that makes the bags be breathable?
Yes, woven polypropylene is breathable. Ventilated bulk bags are especially breathable as they are made this way. Air and moisture can travel through bulk bags. Of course different types of bags can limit or restrict air flow so if this is what you require make it clear when you enquire about them.
Could bulk bags be made to be airtight?
The bulk bag alone, no. Even with a lined/laminated bulk bag there is still risk it will leak air, due to the woven and stitched nature of the fabric. It is possible to use poly liners which will limit air flow and make your product more air tight but if this is critical we have foil liners which create a barrier for oxygen, moisture and light.
Are they waterproof?
For the same reasons as above, woven polypropylene is not watertight or waterproof.
However steps can be taken to help with this. Poly liners inside the bulk bag can prevent
moisture ingress but also poly liners over the top whilst stored, will help prevent water
settling and creeping into your bulk bag.
Can I print on or change the colour of a bulk bag?
There are lots of different options available for this so please inquire with us to see what we can offer.