Big Bags -Questions and answers to resolve frequently asked questions

There are many frequently asked questions about Big Bags. The information contained here has been prepared by the European Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association(EFIBCA) and adapted byMultisac.

frequently asked questions¿What are Big Bags and how should they be used? All this information should be taken as a general guide to recommendations for using Big Bags and the resolution of frequently asked questions about Big Bags.

Responsibility in resolving frequently asked questions about Big Bags

In no case, is EFIBCA or Multisac considered responsible for any action taken from what is stated here.

Nor for the failure to update any standard or recommendation that may have become obsolete.

Ask your Multisac commercial advisor to resolve any questions or queries you may have.

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Frequently asked questions: Selecting the most suitable Big Bag

Broadly speaking, there are three basic types of Big Bags:

  • High-resistance reusable Big Bags
  • Multi-trip FIBCs for standard service
  • Single-use FIBCs

Each of them can be, in addition to different sizes, different configurations, resistances, types of packaging, composition, and weight, giving rise to a large number of possibilities and options with the combination of all this.

Mutisac can help you determine the right type of Big Bag for your specific needs. The following aspects will influence the right choice:

  • The weight and type of product to fill in the Big Bag
  • The filling or loading temperature of the Big Bag
  • The number of filling cycles for each Big Bag
  • The filling method used
  • The Big Bag´s handling
  • Transportation, storage and unloading of the Big Bag

There are hundreds of types of Big Bags and the more precise your specification of needs and use of Big Bags, the easier it will be for us to recommend the most suitable one for you.

It is important to clarify whether your Big Bag must contain and transport food, hazardous materials, contaminating materials, or materials with electrostatic characteristics, since in each of these cases, special characteristics and compliance with certain highly regulated regulations are required.

Yes, several rules apply to different aspects, and among them the following:

  • EU-Regulation 10/2011: regarding plastic materials and containers intended to come into contact with food
  • EN ISO 21898 Packaging: regarding the use of Big Bags for non-dangerous goods
  • IEC 61340-4-4 Electrostatics – Point 4-4: regarding standard test methods for specific applications and electrostatic classification of Big Bags
  • United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (ADR, RID, IMDG-Code, Orange Book, Chapter 6.5)

Moreover, some countries have additional and complementary regulations for the use or transport of certain materials in their territory, such as the RRC 2153 standard regarding avoiding the risks of ignition due to electrostatic charges, which is mainly applied in Germany.

Some other rules and regulations may apply to the use of Big Bags.

According to the EN ISO 21898: 2005 standard, Big Bags should be persistently marked (either incorporating a label or printed with ink on one or more of their lateral faces) with the following information:

  • Name and address of the supplier or company that uses the Big Bag
  • Type of construction or configuration of the supplier (in this case, this only applies to a particular type of Big Bag)
  • Distributor name and address, if applicable
  • Safe working load (SWL) in kg, that is, maximum load weight allowed for each Big Bag
  • Safety factor, e.g., 5:1, 6:1 o 8:1. This factor indicates that the Big Bag should not break with proper handling until it is loaded with 5, 6, or 8 times its SWL (respectively on the previous examples).
  • Indication of the relevant standard that may specifically apply
  • Big Bag Type, i.e. Heavy Duty Reusable Big Bags, Standard Duty Reusable Big Bags or Single Use Big Bags
  • The construction certificate number, as well as the month and year of issuance of the certificate
  • Name of the agency that carried out the Big Bag verification tests
  • Big Bag production date
  • Pictogram with handling recommendations
  • Indications for the special handling of Big Bags following the guidelines of point 3.7 of the EN ISO 21898:2005 standard
  • In the event that the Big Bag is certified for a specific product, then the product description must also be added

Following UN guidelines, Big Bags intended for hazardous or polluting materials must have a special, indelible, and well-legible print (minimum 12 mm print size), similar to the one shown here as an example:

UN de Big Bags Identification

And where each of the sectors means or reports the following aspects:

  1. United Nations (UN) packaging symbol
  2. Type
    (13H1) Big Bag with no coating nor inner liner
    (13H2) Coated Big Bag
    (13H3) Big Bag with inner liner
    (13H4) Coated Big Bag with inner liner
  3. Packing group
    X: Groups I, II and III (Big Bags for solid products only)
    Y: Groups II and III
    Z: Group III only
  4. Month and year of manufacture
  5. Country where the tests have been carried out and verified
  6. Approval authority
  7. Manufacturer or owner who uses the Big Bag or any other permitted identification thereof
  8. Reference number
  9. Stacked load test in kg. (In the case of Big Bags not designed for stacking, “0” must be indicated)
  10. Maximum load allowed in kg.

Furthermore, and in accordance with the ADR 2009 regulations (section, the maximum permitted stacking load is displayed as a special symbol on Big Bags intended for dangerous goods (see image 1). The weight indicated above the symbol must never exceed the maximum load established during resistance tests divided by 1.8.

Stackable Big Bags symbols

Big Bag that can be stacked Big Bag that should not be stacked

Image 1: Stacking symbols according to ADR 2009 standard


During the filling process, the Big Bag must hang from some lifting device so that its bottom either touches or hangs slightly above the ground or a pallet. When Big Bags have a spout or another discharge device, it is important to ensure that it is well closed and secured during the loading and transportation process. Ask your Multisac sales representative if you want to fill your Big Bags with any hot material since not all Big Bags are designed to withstand high temperatures.

In order to ensure the stability of the loaded Big Bag, its filling height should be between 0.5 and 2 times its shortest horizontal length, typically:

  • the diameter of the Big Bag in circular base configurations
  • the length of the shortest side for Big Bags with rectangular base

Note: During the filling or discharging of a Big Bag, an electrostatic charge may be generated which, under certain circumstances, could cause an explosion. For more information, please read this document later or contact us.

The most important thing regulated by the regulations on Big Bags that come into direct or indirect contact with food is the protection of human health and the non-alteration of the composition of the food or its perceptible properties.

The EU regulation 1935/2004 establishes the requirements for all types of packaging materials, including plastic materials such as Big Bags, to guarantee human health. There is another very important specific regulation for plastic materials in contact with food: EU Regulation 10/2011.

The FDA in the United States follows the same principles as European regulations. On the other hand, quality systems related to the process such as good manufacturing practices (GMP: Good Manufacturing Practices) and the best Sanitary Management must be applied for the production of Big Bags in contact with food. Please note that the national laws of each country also apply and must be considered.

It is very important that both the manufacturer and the possible importer or marketer of the Big Bags (if they are different companies), have and deliver their respective food certificates and that you share with them your needs to obtain the appropriate product that, in addition To meet your needs, also comply with the regulations applicable in each case.

When filling dangerous goods in a Big Bag, it is necessary to ensure that dangerous dust is not produced that could be dispersed into the air, which could endanger the health of the operators in the first instance and third parties and, subsequently, the environment. For better containment of any hazardous dust or unwanted spillage, it is recommended to only use dust-proof Big Bags type 13H2 or Big Bags with an inner cover, such as type 13H3 or 13H4, according to UN regulations.

The Big Bags intended for the transport of dangerous goods have successfully passed different especially demanding tests, following the recommendations of the UN and related legislation ADR/RID or IMDG, and are manufactured and tested under a quality assurance program that must satisfy the competent authorities and quality department of the supplier and client themselves.


Before lifting or suspending any Big Bag, it should be visually verified that it does not suffer any damage or damage caused by any blow or tear to any of its components. In this case, the Big Bag should be discarded.

In general, each Big Bag must be lifted following the instructions given on its label, where the rules and recommendations for handling appear. As a general rule, Big Bags should be lifted and placed, distributing the effort equally on their handles symmetrically, and avoiding sudden movements or pulling. Any rocking motion should also be avoided during the lifting and suspension process.

Please note that most accidents and damages related to Big Bags occur due to improper lifting or handling of Big Bags. Never lift a Big Bag using steel wires, fiber ropes, or similar devices, as the handles of the Big Bag could break due to such manipulation.

You can lift several Big Bags at the same time, as long as you have the necessary instruments for their proper handling together and it is technically feasible so that the vertical position of all the handles of the set is maintained (see figure 2).

Figure 2: Maintaining the position of the handles is extremely important when lifting any Big Bag.

To avoid damage to the handles, the forks must be free of sharp edges and, if necessary, covered with suitable material. When driving FIBC hanging from a forklift, the vehicle is in danger of overturning. Como medida de precaución, el FIBC debe ser transportado cerca del polo en el nivel más bajo posible y con el polo doblado ligeramente hacia atrás.

The FIBC should be placed on the forklift so that the forklift wheels do not damage the FIBC and the driver’s view is not obstructed.

When transporting Big Bags on a truck or in a container, the load must always be positioned safely and stably.

Big Bags should not be located next to sharp edges, sharp objects, or rough surfaces that could damage any component of the Big Bag. Legal regulations and recommendations for transport (e.g. according to VDI 2700 standard) must be followed.

Reuse of Big Bags

The actual useful life of a Big Bag depends on the use made of it and especially on the storage conditions, which must be adequate so that it does not deteriorate abruptly, but normally it should not exceed two years from the date of sale. manufacturing.

According to regulations, Big Bags with a safety factor of 5:1 can only be used once. These are considered single-use and should not be reused under any circumstances.

Only those with a minimum safety factor of 6:1 are reusable. Before reusing any Big Bag, make sure that all its components are in good condition as before the first use. When examining it, look for and check for possible visible and non-visible damage that may have occurred as a result of previous use and storage as possible impact from the sun’s UV rays, from which they should always be protected.

The user has the sole responsibility of examining the Big Bag and the final decision to repeat its use or discard it permanently. It must be taken into account that content remaining from the first use may stay in the Big Bag and contaminate or affect the content of subsequent uses. Under no circumstances should the Big Bag be reused with different types of content.

The Big Bag label contains relevant information to help determine its reuse: safety factor, Big Bag class, and manufacturing date.

The reconditioning or recovery of any Big Bag includes the processes of recovery, cleaning, classification, damage control, and possible replacement of some of its components; for example, document bags, ties, labels, or inner liner.

Repairs, patches, or changes to the construction components (seams, side panels, bottoms, filling and discharging spouts, flaps, or skits) of the Big Bag are not permitted under any circumstances.

For safety reasons, reconditioning of Big Bags for the transport of dangerous goods should never be carried out.