Life In Bulk: Understanding The Big Opportunity For Recycling Supersacks

What do your pain medication, peanut butter, and fertilizer all have in common? If you don’t spend your days touring various manufacturing facilities, you may be stumped to name any similarities. Here is one: all these products have Supersacks in their manufacturing waste streams.

You might know them as Bulk Bags, 1 Ton Bags, Jumbo Bags, Big Bags, or Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers. Maybe you’ve never even heard of them at all. Regardless, in layman’s terms, Supersacks are large, flexible, industrial containers, typically made from Polypropylene plastic (PP) and used as low cost packaging options.  They are good for transporting granules, pellets, flakes, and other free flowing powders. In other words, Supersacks might hold things like starch, dry chemical powders, sand, pigments, seeds, or other fine materials used as ingredients during manufacturing.

Now that you have a clearer picture in your head of what a Supersack is, let’s talk about its significance to manufacturing companies’ waste streams.  For industries like food and beverage or pharmaceutical manufacturing, a lot of the manufacturing process involves mixing ingredients together to get a final product – not unlike cooking at home. Every ingredient that goes into the final product comes in its own package, and once the package is empty of all ingredients, the packaging becomes waste. Of this packaging waste, quite a bit might be used Supersacks.

To give you some numbers for reference, let’s pretend we’re talking about an industrial bakery. It wouldn’t be unusual to see this kind of manufacturing facility go through 1,000 to 2,000 Supersacks every month. If a manufacturer simply landfilled these Supersacks, that’s about 2,400 lbs. of extra waste going to the landfill. The good news is that manufacturing companies don’t have to landfill Supersacks. These items are relatively easy to recycle, and can even generate rebates under the right conditions.

The best way for manufacturing facilities to remove Supersacks from their waste stream is by collecting empty bags throughout the facility and baling them. A company generating 1,000 to 2,000 bags per month could produce about 3 to 4 bales for recycling. Looking at this from an annual perspective, that’s tons of waste a manufacturing facility could divert from the landfill simply by recycling Supersacks. From a business perspective, this could also equal a few thousand dollars of profits between cost savings and potential recycling rebates.

We hope this provided some food for thought. To learn how we recycle Supersacks and similar manufacturing waste at Northstar Recycling, contact us today.