The History of FIBC Bulk Bags

If you have a business that requires the use of bulk bags, you probably know that the FIBC, or flexible intermediate bulk container, is the standard in bulk bags. You likely know that these bags are governed by the FIBCA, or Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association. How much do you know about the history of flexible intermediate bulk containers? Here’s a little bulk bag history that may interest you.

What Is an FIBC, or Bulk Bag?

Today, FIBC refers to an intermediate bulk container made out of flexible fabric. However, you may not be aware that there are also some specific requirements a bag must meet in order to be considered an FIBC. An FIBC cannot be handled manually when you fill it, and is made so you can lift it from the top with attached lift loops, straps or similar list-assist devices. It should not require further packaging and is made to ship powdered, flaked or granular solid material.

Bulk Bag History

Now that you know what a bulk bag is, where did they come from? We do not know exactly when the first bulk bags appeared, but we can pin it down to somewhere between 1955 to 1965 in the United States, Europe and Japan. Wherever and whenever the first FIBC was made, we know all of these bags were constructed with sheets of heavy-duty PVC-coated nylon or polyester welded together.

In some cases, these bags would have lift slings around the container, and in others, they would be attached to a special pallet. Either way, the major benefit of the FIBC design was the ability to fill the bag from the top and discharge it from the bottom. As you know, efficient filling and discharge is a major feature of bulk bags today.

Bulk bags did not really take off, however, until the mid-1970s, 10 to 20 years after they first appeared. It was at this time that the oil crisis necessitated that oil-producing countries in the Middle East step up their operations, and to do so, they needed massive amounts of cement. That cement came from Europe, and the Europeans shipped that cement to the Middle East in bulk bags. Europe was sending up to 50,000 metric tons a week from places like Spain, northern Europe and Italy to the Middle East, which caused a huge boom in the FIBC industry.

However, since these oil countries were getting their cement from the Middle East, the need for bulk bags in the United States was not as great. That all changed in 1984 thanks to a landmark decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 1984, the DOT decided to allow exemptions for hazardous products shipped in FIBCs. After the Chemical Packaging Committee of the Packing Institute was created, which established and issued FIBC performance standards under T-4102-85, the use of bulk bags in the U.S. soared.

Why Bulk Bags Are So Popular Today

Today, bulk bags continue to be an extremely popular method of transporting agricultural products and many other precious goods. Why have bulk bags endured for more than 50 years? Probably because of their many unique features. Bulk bags are extremely easy to store. They can be folded flat and weigh only 5 to 7 pounds for a bag that can hold a full metric ton of product. You can store FIBC bags next to and on top of each other, so there is no need for pallets. They are easy to handle, store, fill and discharge with basic equipment.

Find All the Bulk Bags You Need at the Right Prices

Now that you know the history of FIBC bulk bags, you need to know where to get them. If you’re interested in finding high-quality bulk bags at the lowest possible prices, you’ve come to the right place. Our reconditioned bulk bags meet or surpass high industry standards, so you know these are safe, sturdy bags you can rely on. Because we offer reconditioned bags, you can have them at a great price while helping us protect the environment.

To find out more about how Bulk Bag Reclamation can supply your industry and help your bottom line, or to request a quote on the bulk bags you need for your business now, contact Bulk Bag Reclamation today.