Ensuring Compliance with UN Transport Standards in the Chemical Industry

UN certified packaging

Anyone who doubts that flexible intermediate bulk containers can safely be used in any kind of application should check out their use for hazardous materials.

Flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) and bag-in-box packaging are regularly used to ship hazardous materials under United Nations regulations. These regulations set out certain performance standards for various classifications of hazards.

These hazard classifications include:

Class 4.1: Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, and desensitized explosives

Class 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion

Class 4.3: Substances that emit flammable gases when they come in contact with water

Class 5.1: Substances that oxidize

Class 5.2: Organic Peroxides

Class 6.1: Toxic substances

Class 8: Corrosive substances

Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

According to UN regulations, FIBCs and bag-in-box can only be used for free-flowing solids in designated UN bulk bags. To earn the designation of “UN Bulk Bag,” a flexible bag must meet some rigorous performance standards while filled to 95 percent capacity. These include:

  1. Vibration: 60-minute vibration test
  2. Top Lift: Lifted from top and/or side and maintain 6:1 load for 5 minutes (i.e., a bag must be able to sit atop another bag one-sixth its weight without damaging the lighter bag)
  3. Stacking: 24-hour stacking test with no content loss
  4. Drop: No content loss at three different drop heights
  5. Topple: Toppled on any part of top without content loss
  6. Righting: FIBC on its side, lifted into the upright position, without damage to the bag
  7. Tear resistance: Knife cut cannot spread more than 25 percent of initial length

UN certified packagingThe Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA) recommends several best practices when FIBCs are used for hazardous materials. They should only be cleaned or subjected to otherwise routine maintenance; repaired or remanufactured FIBCs should not be used for hazardous materials.

“After routine maintenance, it is the recommendation of this Code that reuse for hazardous materials be restricted to the same product and the same prior filler,” RIPA’s guidelines state. “This will help minimize or eliminate concerns about the possible cross-contamination of a lading.”

Using FIBCs and bag-in-box for hazardous materials present many of the same advantages as in any application. Because they can be evacuated faster and more completely than most rigid bulk containers, residue is greatly reduced, which becomes an even bigger concern when hazardous materials are being handled. One-time use of FIBCs and bag-in-box eliminates the danger of cross-contamination. The frames of FIBCs can be folded flat and shipped back up the supply chain, for greater ongoing transport efficiency.

CDF’s UN Certifed Bag-in-Box Options

Bag-in-box is the ideal packaging solution for chemical, food, beverage, and cosmetic applications. CDF offers both form-fit and pillow styles to accommodate your packaging needs.

CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box meets all UN requirements and is certified by a third-party lab following the Department of Transportation guidelines. Our 20-liter UN certified bag-in-box provides the highest levels of protection for transporting hazardous products requiring class II and III packaging. The 20-liter bag-in-box packaging endured four rigorous performance tests. The tests include drop, stacking, vibration, and cobb water absorption.

Having passed rigorous testing, CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box allows you to transport a wide array of goods domestically and internationally. Download this data sheet to learn more about CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box packaging and how it will help you keep your business moving.

Yes! Read the UN-Certified Bag-in-Box Data Sheet

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a UN Packaging Supplier

UN-certified packaging is a world apart from other packaging materials. It might look the same in many ways, but the UN-Certified label indicates that there is much more happening under the surface. Certification is not a one-and-done solution. For every hazardous product, there are many factors that are tested for compliance with the most recent UN regulations.

If you are looking for your first UN-certified packaging supplier or want to find a better one, here are five important factors to consider.

#1: Does the Packaging Supplier Have Appropriate Certifications and Experience?

Ultimately, the responsibility for selecting and implementing UN-certified packaging lies with the product manufacturer. It is in your best interest to choose a packaging supplier whose certifications and experience combined give you the highest likelihood of being compliant with regulations and staying that way.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) explains that it is easy to take safety for granted. Certifications matter because they prove fitness of the packaging materials for their purpose. However, experience with UN-certified packaging is as important as any document.

#2: Is the Packaging UN-Specified, Tested and Certified?

UN-certified packaging has several classifications, which mirror the product classifications for materials that the packaging can safely contain. IATA says product classification is “critical to choosing the right packaging system.” That is because there is no standard or one-size-fits-all solution, even within the same product class.

Not only is the packaging required to have little or no interaction with the contents, it must also perform safely and dependably under numerous conditions. Falls, stacking, and atmospheric conditions are a few of the factors about which you should be concerned.

UN certified packaging

Un-certified packaging is only as good as the weakest link in packing, storage, and transportation.

#3: Can the Packaging Stand up to Packing, Storage, and Transportation Conditions?

There is no way to account for every imaginable risk. However, you can account for the most likely risks as well as those with the highest potential for compromising the packaging and product and putting the public at risk of exposure. Testing and pairing the product with the right packaging classification helps ensure the UN-certified system you choose can withstand the unique conditions throughout the whole supply chain.

Maybe the packaging performs as expected during filling, but what if there is a machinery malfunction? Stacking and storage practices might complement the packaging materials, but if a forklift tips over, a pallet breaks or there is a vehicle accident during transportation, what happens then? Performance Oriented Packaging or POP, says IATA, is critical for safely filling, containing, transporting, and storing hazardous materials.

#4: Does the Packaging Supplier Perform Ongoing Production Checks?

Initial testing results are only a baseline. They cannot guarantee future performance because there are so many factors, including the people who handle it, that can affect the effectiveness of UN-certified packaging.

Ongoing performance for UN-certified packaging depends heavily on continual testing and production checks. If there is a weak link in the chain, production checks can find it before it compromises the packaging, your business, and the public.

#5: Does the Supplier Stay Current on All Existing Laws and New Regulations?

UN-certified packaging that is manufactured today might differ a great deal from what is manufactured in the future. Legislation changes frequently, about every two years. As the UN system of certification advances, new regulations may change the types of flexible films, liners, taps, and seals that are built into the product.

New regulations could create a ripple effect that alters the way you pack, transport, and store hazardous materials tomorrow. If your packaging supplier stays in tune with the industry, you are all set. Updated legislation in the future will be factored into materials manufacture as well as baseline testing and production checks, which protect your company and the public.

Products that put the public and the environment at risk are ever present. The UN standards for safe packaging were developed to minimize the risk of exposure as much as possible using the materials and technology available today. Because technology marches on, expect regulations to change and evolve.

Having passed rigorous testing, CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box allows you to transport a wide array of goods domestically and internationally. Download this data sheet to learn more about CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box packaging and how it will help you keep your business moving.

Yes! Read the UN-Certified Bag-in-Box Data Sheet

CDF’s Bag-in-Box receives UN Certification for 20 Liter Bag-In-Box Packaging

CDF Corporation, a leading manufacturer of drum, pail, intermediate bulk container and bag in box liners and flexible packaging, has successfully passed the design qualification testing of a combination package; fiberboard box with a plastic bag. CDF’s UN certified bag-in-box will provide the highest levels of protection for transporting hazardous products requiring class II and III packaging.


The 20 liter bag-in-box packaging endured four rigorous performance tests executed by Ten-E Packaging Services; the tests include drop, stacking, vibration and cobb water absorption. Prior to testing, the packages were prepared exactly as they would be for transportation and in accordance to UN testing guidelines. TEN-E used an alternate solution in place of the hazardous material, as allowed by the UN testing regulations.


“Our development team did a tremendous job creating a product that meets the rigorous UN standards while offering unique value to our customers.  We are excited to continue our growth into the UN package market segment,” said Jay Waltz, CDF Vice President of Sales & Marketing.


For the box drop tests, each package was dropped from 47.2”. The first drop was flat on the bottom, the second drop was flat on the top, the third drop was flat on the long side, the fourth drop was flat on the short side and the fifth drop was on a corner. Any breakage or leaking during the tests void the package. One prepared package was dropped for each test. CDF’s bag-in-box package passed the drop tests at 1.2m.


The stacking test is performed to ensure the packages are strong enough that they will not collapse. For the stacking tests, two filled packages of the same type are placed on the test sample. The stacked packages must maintain their position for one hour. CDF’s bag-in-box package passed the stacking test at 303.9Kg – 24 hours.


The vibration tests are done to simulate the package traveling by motorized vehicle. For this test, the packages are placed upright on a vibration platform. The packages are constrained horizontally to prevent falling off the table, but can move vertically to bounce and rotate. Immediately following the period of vibration, each package is removed from the platform, turned on its side and observed for evidence of leakage. CDF’s bag-in-box package passed the vibration test at 4.1Hz – 1 hour.


The cobb water absorption test is performed on the fiberboard outer package to test the quantity of water that can be absorbed by the surface of paper or board in a given time. This is to ensure the paper used is of high enough quality and that it will not disintegrate with moisture. CDF’s box passed the cobb water absorption test at 30 minutes.

CDF Europe with Alma Chimica Launches UN Certified Waterproof Bag-in-Box

CDF Europe, a leading manufacturer of flexible packaging, announced a supply agreement with Alma Chimica, Italy’s leading producer of detergents and cleaning chemicals, for their newly UN certified, waterproof bag-in-box.  The package will be filled throughout Alma Chimica’s umbrella organisation under the trade name “Ecobox”.  The bag-in-box, manufactured using CDF Europe’s patented Cheertainer liner, is considered to be the world’s first UN certified bag-in-box.

Michael Watson, CDF Europe Sales & Marketing Director says, “This unique product launch and to be working with a company like Alma Chimica is incredibly exciting for us.  UN certification is critical for these applications and we are able to offer this package with all the benefits Cheertainer brings, including significant reductions in waste disposal and logistics costs.”

Alma Chimica has launched the UN certified “Ecobox” in several markets including in-home and industrial detergents and cleaning chemicals.

Gianpaolo Maino Sales Manager for Alma Chimica says “Cheertainer has had a tremendous impact on our overall business.  It has allowed us to become more sustainable, which was an important goal for our company.  It has also allowed us to provide a safer and easier-to-use product.”

This is the first package in the Italian detergents marketplace to feature connector dispensing, allowing for the product to be evacuated in a portion-controlled manner.  Connector dispensing is critical when used with hazardous chemicals as it greatly improves safety in the workplace by minimizing spillage and contamination issues.