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Using Bulk Bags to Improve Process Industry Packaging Efficiency

Cliffe Packaging bulk bags

There are multiple factors to consider for improving packaging for your business

Protecting products is important, but businesses must also be mindful of costs and the impact of packaging on the environment. Bulk bags are an increasingly popular and sensible choice for several reasons:

Reduce packaging costs

Using multiple sacks to store large loads can end up costing you 30% more than if you were to use a single bulk bag.  For example, to bag a 1,000kg load, you could use forty 25kg sacks costing £12, or just one 1,000kg bag for £7.50.  Bulk bags can also be reused, unlike many sacks, which means you would not have to repurchase packaging as often.  They also eliminate the need for pallets, further reducing packaging spend.

Improve worker efficiency

Filling and handling multiple sacks is not only a time-consuming process, it is simply unnecessary when there are more effective solutions available.  How much time and money could your company save by switching to bulk bags?  Moreover the time spent on filling sacks could be better used for other tasks.

Assure product quality

The packaging industry has grown in spades and now offers a wide range of packaging options to suit a variety of requirements.  Bulk packaging can be customised to meet specific needs, which can make a huge difference to your business.  Food or pharmaceutical industries, for instance, have strict requirements for packaging – food-grade bags must be clinically sterile to meet UK and EU safety standards.

Compliance with industry standards

Industries that deal with hazardous or potentially hazardous substances require packaging that complies with stringent UN standards.  Bulk packaging specialists can provide UN-certified bulk bags specially designed for transportation of these hazardous goods, down to the minutest specification, such as materials that emit flammable gases when in contact with water.

Minimise waste

A common issue companies face is waste during the transportation of goods.  Bulk bags are specially designed to carry large and heavy loads, hence they are stronger and more durable than sacks, and better for reducing breakage or spillage when transporting materials.  Additionally, bulk bags can replace the need for pallets, which tend to get damaged and broken.

Reduce carbon footprint

Large sacks are generally not designed for multiple use, whereas bulk bags can be reused.  The number of times a bulk bag can be used depends on how it is filled and handled, as well as the contents of the load.  Given the significant reduction in waste, it makes sense to switch from sacks to bulk bags.

Multi-trip vs. single trip bulk bags: Which is more cost effective?

There has been a debate over the most cost-effective way of transporting semi-bulk products: in single trip or multi-trip bags?  A simple way to determine which option is better for you depends on your needs.  Logically, every time you use a multi-trip bulk bag, the costs reduce, as evident in the comparison of costs below:

Multi-trip option (6:1 safety factor)

First trip Initial cost £ 10.00
Second trip Return and cleaning cost £   5.25
Third trip Return and cleaning cost £   5.25
Fourth trip Return and cleaning cost £   5.25
Fifth trip Return and cleaning cost £   5.25
Total Cost  £ 31.00

NB: Cliffe Packaging recommends that a multi-trip bulk bag be used up to a maximum of 5 times.

Single-trip option (5:1 safety factor)

First trip £   8.75
Second trip £   8.75
Third trip £   8.75
Fourth trip £   8.75
Fifth trip £   8.75
Total Cost £ 43.75

At five trips, the saving is around 30%.  On this basis, the multi-trip bag breaks even during the second trip, which is a very quick return.  Not only would the multi-trip option save money, it has a positive impact on the environment, reducing packaging waste by 80%.

If the bulk bags are being used internally in a closed loop system, the savings are even greater.  Just be mindful of ensuring that the bags are checked and re-tied before returning them to service.

When to use single trip bags

The multi-trip option is not suitable for every application.  When food or cross-contamination is an issue, the single trip bag is the only viable option.  This also applies to deep sea exports, where retrieving the bag is impossible.  If the product you are carrying is of low value, or needs to be stored for many months before shipment, then the better option is a single trip bag.

The various types of bulk bags

These days there are all types of bulk bags available, customisable to all shapes, sizes and colours.  The following explains the more common types of bulk bags:

Food grade

As food grade bags are used for storing and transporting food products, they must be certified to food grade standard, which includes being produced in a clean room environment to eliminate any risk of contamination and undergoing safety and quality checks according to UK & EU safety standards.


Regular bulk bags naturally develop a static charge whilst being filled.  Some industries require static-free bulk bags as they deal with flammable or potentially explosive environments.  In such circumstances, anti-static bags ensure there are no unwanted sparks or discharges that might ignite a fire.

Baffle or Q-bags

The baffle bag, also known as a q-bag, is a space-saving solution.  Regular bulk bags can bulge out at the sides when filled, which is most instances is not an issue.  If your business has limited space to work with, baffle bags will retain their shape and not bulge, as they are manufactured with sections of lightweight material stitched into the sides to reinforce the structural integrity.  This allow you to pack more bags into a set space and can potentially reduce transport costs, compared with standard bulk bags.

ADR UN Certified

If your business deals with the transporting of hazardous goods or materials, this type of bag is ideal as it is designed to be fully compliant with UN standards.  This means the bags have been tested for their resistance to different situations, including stacking stability and accidental dropping.

For more information about bulk bags for packaging and how they can be customised to suit your needs, visit www.cliffepackaging.com or contact 0845 4811 200.

Process Industry Informer

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