A closed loop refurbishing process typically starts with the purchase of new bulk bags at a discounted price from your Re-Use Partner (or start with your own existing inventory of new bags). Ensure your Re-Use partner has a Quality System and Process in place to guarantee new bulk bags are produced and inspected to your specifications. The final "stamp" of approval is a successful fill and discharge (by your customer) of the bag. Once a bulk bag has been successfully filled and discharged, we've proven that the bag is properly designed for your needs. By cleaning, refurbishing, and testing "Known Good" bags after every use, you've eliminated the design and production risks associated with procuring new bags.
Bulk bags are filled at a filler location and shipped to a customer or discharger where they are emptied. Empty bulk bags are then picked up at the discharge location by your Re-Use Partner (who should arrange all pickup, labeling, and shipping logistics at their expense this should be a seamless process, requiring zero administrative effort on the part of the discharger). If the discharger's bags usage volume supports it, your Re-Use Partner should supply appropriate bag compressing or racking equipment. Since the bulk bags are being shipped back to your Re-Use partner, rather than being landfilled, an environmentally friendly and sustainable process is now set in motion and has eliminated the environmental risk from using bulk bags. In addition, you now have bulk bags available for re-use which is critical to eliminating availability risks.
Inspect & Track
Once bags are received at your Re-Use Partner,s facility they should be inspected and logged into an inventory and tracking system. The ability to know where your bags are and having access to the bags in circulation at all times will mitigate your availability risk, instead of having to endure 90-120 day new bag production lead times.
Clean & Refurbish
Bags are cleaned by your Re-Use Partner to remove the material previously in the big bag and then make any necessary repairs. You and your Re-use Partner should agree on specific criteria for inspection, cleaning, repair, filling preparation requirements, etc. A good cleaning process should remove more than 99% of the previous materials and any repairs should meet or exceed industry testing standards. You must have "Clean," "Safe" and “Usable” bags to truly reduce availability risks.
Once bags are logged, cleaned, inspected, repaired and tested (as needed); they should be certified “safe for one additional use.” Be sure your Re-Use Partner is standing behind their product. Since each bulk bag is already "field tested" and certified as clean and safe against new bag production criteria, the new bag design risk and bait & switch risks are completely eliminated.
Once the inventory is in circulation, there is little need for purchasing new bags for an extended period of time, due to the continued re-use of the bulk bags in the program. If your production plans increase, you can always have your Re-Use partner add new bags to your inventory. With a fixed per use price, you have eliminated the new bag price risk for the life (5-10 uses) of the bag. PPC's Smart-Use™ program eliminates the price risk beyond the life of the bag with our "Forever Bag Replacement" program. Contact PPC for more details.
A closed loop recycling program will eliminate supply chain risks such as price, production, bait & switch, design, and availability. Additionally, this program is environmentally friendly and improves your sustainability position.
Once you decide to drive your supply chain costs and risks down with bulk bag (FIBC) re-use put your potential Re-Use Partner to the test by performing a small scale pilot:
Work with you and one of your customers (dischargers) to get 1-2 pallets of bulk bags shipped, at the Re-Use Partner's expense, to the Re-Use Partner's plant for processing.
Have the partner Clean, refurbish, inspect, test the bags, and return them to you folded and palletized exactly how your plant workers need them. A good Re-Use Partner will be there with you at your plant as you test the program!
Ensure they have certified each bag for another use.
Try them at your plant and see how they work. Ask yourself if they meet or exceed your bag requirements