Why Chemical and Agricultural Chemical Companies Are Switching from Paper to Multi-Ply Laminated Bags

August 17, 2021 | By The Fres-co Team

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Multi-wall kraft paper bags are mainstays in the industrial sector, especially for agricultural chemicals. In fact, they’ve been the go-to industrial bag for these applications for decades. But as these industries evolve and their customer requirements change, paper bags are no longer the best packaging option.

By moving from kraft paper bags to multi-ply laminated bags, can better protect their product from the hazards they face in storage and in transit, while reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their packaging. Trends like these are prompting many companies to make the switch.

Business is Going Global  

For US-based companies that only do business domestically, multi-wall paper bags might get the job done in some limited applications. But few companies in the chemical industry restrict their operations to the US. The more likely you are to export your product, the more likely you’ll run into problems using paper bags to store your product.

In the course of transporting your product internationally, you’ll encounter a host of risks that can threaten the product’s integrity, quality, and shelf life, especially if you’re using paper bags.

  • Moisture exposure is more likely for products shipped in containers by sea, which could render the product unusable when it reaches the customer. For instance, if a food sweetener or other powdered product is shipped in a paper bag that allows moisture ingress, the product will absorb that moisture—and will likely be a solid brick by the time the customer receives it. (Even if your product only ships domestically, if it’s stored in high-humidity regions then the risk of moisture exposure is still a major issue.)
  • Oxygen exposure is equally likely when shipping long distances in kraft paper bags. If a food or feed product is exposed to oxygen in transit, it could oxidize, separate, or become rancid or moldy, prompting the customer to submit a costly claim. It’s common for chemical and agricultural chemical company return claims to total in the hundreds of thousands or even millions annually, raising the TCO for kraft paper bags.
  • Product spillage and leakage are more common on long shipments, since the product is handled more frequently and spends more time on pallets.
  • The longer your shipping distance and transit time, the longer your product shelf life needs to be. But packaging types that allow moisture or oxygen ingress inhibit your product’s shelf life, creating further challenges for companies that do business internationally.

Even with a liner, a multi-wall kraft paper bag won’t provide optimal protection against problems like these in transit. Most paper bags have micro-perforations that allow air to escape to avoid pillowing. That may help when it comes to palletizing the bags, but it’s a prime avenue for moisture and oxygen to seep in, which jeopardizes your product’s integrity, quality, and shelf life. And if those paper bags are stitched closed, which is common, it’s even more likely that moisture, oxygen, and insects will find their way inside during long-distance travel.

That’s why many chemical and agricultural chemical products are switching from kraft paper bags to multi-ply high-barrier laminated bags specifically designed to keep moisture and oxygen out. Multi-ply laminated bags provide an airtight, hermetic seal that offers superior protection, with a near-zero moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) and oxygen transmission rate (OTR).

Product Ingredients Are Becoming More Costly

Back when chemical companies relied on inexpensive additives to protect their products in transit and on the shelf, losing some product to moisture, oxygen, infestation, or other hazards may not have cost the company much. But as food and feed products move away from artificial flavors, preservatives, and stabilizers and instead adopt a clean label approach, product loss has become an expensive proposition.

When chemical or agricultural chemical companies store expensive ingredients in kraft paper bags, they’re exposing those ingredients to a host of costly problems. Whether it’s moisture that hardens a powdered product, oxygen that allows mold to grow or product to degrade and lose efficacy, or aromas transferred from an outside source, kraft paper bags don’t provide adequate protection for today’s high-value ingredients. Companies that prioritize customer satisfaction and desire a lower TCO are turning to multi-ply laminated bags as a better alternative—one that keeps out anything that could threaten the product’s integrity, quality, or shelf life.

High Efficiency Remains a Competitive Advantage

Maintaining a high rate of efficiency and productivity is critical for any company today, especially in the chemical and agricultural chemical industries. But products with relatively short shelf lives make it difficult for companies to operate as smart as possible. If you’re forced to produce your products on more of a just-in-time basis, you lose the opportunity to optimize the efficiency of your processes and equipment and the productivity of your staff.

Because kraft paper bags allow moisture and oxygen to seep in, they limit a product’s shelf life—and limit a company’s ability to run an efficient, productive operation. By keeping moisture and oxygen out, multi-ply high-barrier laminated bags make it possible to increase operational efficiency and productivity while expanding the product’s shelf life—opening the door to

As a leader in flexible packaging, Fres-co has the expertise to help you make the switch from kraft paper bags to multi-ply laminated bags that better ensure your product’s integrity, quality, and shelf life. Fres-co industrial packaging comes in standard and custom sizes, with a three- or four-ply laminated barrier for maximum product protection and an extremely low MVTR and OTR. Our laminated bags also feature a one-way degassing valve that prevents moisture and oxygen ingress while keeping the packaging from pillowing or expanding, for safe and stable palletizing.

Find out how our multi-ply laminated industrial bags can help protect your chemical or agricultural chemical products in transit. Contact a Fres-co packaging expert at contact@fresco.com to learn more!










For more than 40 years, Fres-co System USA, Inc. has manufactured high-performance flexible packaging systems and invented dozens of innovative breakthroughs including degassing valves, modified atmosphere technologies, and reclosure systems.


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