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Many companies that require bulk bags for their daily operations may consider buying used ones from other businesses or suppliers. This obviously requires a more careful approach and a need to inspect the bulk bags thoroughly before using them. One factor to consider is the safety factor rating of the bags, as this will determine their quality and ability to hold loads when being reused.

Custom Bulk Bags is a leading manufacturer and supplier of these products in South Africa. We use high-quality, extruded polypropylene tapes to manufacture bulk bags of various dimensions. All of our products have a minimum 5:1 safety factor, which essentially means that they are able to hold at least five times their intended load. While this is never recommended, it is technically possible.

While buying new bulk bags is the best way forward, some companies with limited budgets may want to reuse their bulk bags. Our products are highly durable and undergo strict inspections before being delivered to customers. This means that they can be reused multiple times before having to be recycled and replaced.

The resale of bulk bags can help the seller recoup some of the purchase costs, while the buyer gets bulk bags at a reduced price. Although there are benefits for both parties, caution must always be taken when reusing bulk bags. Here are some of the risks to consider.

Safety factor for used bulk bags

Bulk bags can be refurbished and used again and again, but they must undergo close inspection for any tears in the fabric, loose threads in the seams and any signs of damage to the lifting handles. The weight of materials stored within the bags can often be significant, so they are placed under a lot of strain when being lifted.

In addition, the nature of the materials can have an impact on the reusability of the bulk bags. For example, sharp materials, such as rubble and metals, can puncture holes in the polypropylene fabric. This often happens during the filling and discharging stages. These sorts of issues could end up being a safety hazard for employees working in close vicinity to full bulk bags.

When buying refurbished or used bulk bags, look at the documentation from the seller to see what sort of quality and certifications the products hold. Look at the safety factor rating, as well as any ISO accreditations of the supplier. This will show you what sort of bulk bags you’re purchasing and whether they are suitable for your needs. Only bulk bags with multi-use ratings should be purchased.

Safety guidelines for filling and emptying bulk bags

How to tell if a bulk bag can be reused

The safety factor rating is the best way to determine whether a bulk bag can be reused. Some bulk bags with a lower safety factor ratio should not be refurbished, but those with a 5:1 or 6:1 ratio are suitable for reuse. Even when purchasing bags with these ratings, you should adhere to the guidelines set out by the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association (FIBCA)  for cleaning, reconditioning and testing the bags before reuse.

If you follow these detailed guidelines, then you should have no problem ascertaining the quality and suitability of used bulk bags for your purposes. Do some research on the manufacturer and check their website to see their certifications and quality assurances. A safety factor rating is a good place to start, but more in-depth research is highly recommended.

Buying used bulk bags is not only a good way to save money but also helps the environment. Safety should always be your biggest priority, so be sure to consult an expert before purchasing these products. Custom Bulk Bags has a team available to guide you through the process and ensure that you get high-quality bulk bags. For more information about our bulk bags, please contact us today. 


Custom Bulk Bags is a leading South African manufacturer of woven polypropylene bags for various industries, such as mining, chemicals and food. We are able to produce over 3.5-million bulk bags per year, keeping our customers in-stock at all times. Our bags adhere to the highest levels of quality as a result of our stringent in-house testing and quality control programmes.

Custom Bulk Bags holds ISO 9001 certification and we currently have a number of UN-certified designs. We are a Level 3 B-BBEE manufacturer and supplier and fall under the ownership structure of Deneb Investments Limited. For more information on our products, contact Follow us on Facebook for our latest news and industry insights.