Understanding the Latest Buzz and Concern in Specialty Bulk Bags
Calcium carbonate has had a lot of buzz in the specialty bulk bag space as of late, with many worries over its use and overall safety. We’ve put together this quick guide to help you understand why there is a concern, what it means for you and why you don’t need to worry when you partner with Midwestern Bag & Supply.
What Is Calcium Carbonate?
Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is a naturally occurring mineral rock that’s formed through the collection and sedimentation of organic materials and life, most typically in the form of marine environment microorganisms. Calcium carbonate is actually very common, making up as much as 4% of the Earth’s crust, so it has become a common additive material.
In manufacturing, CaCO3 is often added to goods to enhance their density, color, texture, opacity, gloss and many other characteristics. According to the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association (FIBCA), you can find CaCO3 in products related to coatings, cosmetics, food, paints, paper, pharmaceuticals, plastics and much more.
For FIBC bags in particular, calcium carbonate was used to prevent fibrillation, maintain higher draw ratios for improved strength and improve extrusion process efficiency.
Why Is It a Problem in FIBC Bulk Bags?
All of that sounds like a good thing, so it might not be apparent why there are concerns around calcium carbonate in FIBC bulk bags.
In general, the worry is that having this material present will lead to a compromise in the integrity and mechanical properties of a polypropylene tape yarn when excess amounts are used, according to FIBCA.
The excess usage is only part of the concern. Another risk to your FIBC bulk bags doesn’t come from the use of CaCO3 in general. It comes from using an inferior product in the production of your bags. Poor quality additives like calcium carbonate can increase the rate at which bags degrade — in terms of fabric strength and durability.
So, you shouldn’t shy away from CaCO3 entirely, but instead make sure you or your supplier are creating bulk bags with only the highest quality materials. You can verify this by asking your supplier about the materials they use and the overall quality of CaCO3.
Quality From Midwestern Bag
Midwestern Bag & Supply applies rigorous control standards and quality tests to ensure the calcium carbonate in our FIBC bulk bags is proper and designed to fit your specific bag applications. There is no single set of requirements that work for every single application.
To ensure a high quality of fit, we rely on standards and tests set forth by FIBCA.
These include following the two hallmarks of proper CaCO3 use:
- Ground CaCO3 has an average particle size of 1 to 3 microns ESD.
- Particle size maintains a top cut in the range of less than 10 microns.
Beyond this, FIBCA and our experience with CaCO3 in manufacturing bags has helped to us to create a guide we use to determine proper materials and applications. All of this is followed by rigorous testing for particle size distribution and the overall amount of CaCO3 in each bag. We rely on a mix of ash tests, x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, CILAS, sedigraph and film transparency micrograph testing.
That’s just the tip of the testing iceberg you can expect from Midwestern Bag & Supply. If you still have more calcium carbonate questions or want to see about a custom designed bag for your application, contact us for a free quote today.