What’s the most important job of animal feed bags? Without a doubt, it’s the bags’ ability to keep the feed safe and clean until it’s time to dispense it on the ranch. Broken or infested feed bags aren’t pretty, or much use at all.

That’s the primary reason that Alltech, a global leader in animal nutrition, is increasingly using woven plastic bags within its US Feed operations.

“Feed bags get a lot of beating,” says Allison Welch, packaging manager at Alltech. “Feed bags are exposed to the environment, they are subject to stresses during shipment and, of course, a target of rodents and other critters that love to chew their way through the bags to get at the food inside.”

BOPP bags can be environmentally sustainable

Welch says that a big help in protecting the feed – bags made of woven polypropylene — also comes with environmental sustainability improvements. “BOPP bags made of woven polypropylene have a measurably lower carbon footprint during the manufacturing stage” she noted.

For Alltech, which provides sustainable solutions to the agriculture industry, this environmental benefit of BOPP bags is not the only driver of the use of heavy-duty woven plastic bags.

But the primary job of a feed bag is protection

Another big benefit of BOPP bags is protection of the contents. Keeping the feed dry and safe from the elements and keeping infestation of the feed at the lowest levels possible is what’s moving Alltech’s Feed Division to BOPP bags for feed.

The feed industry began moving to bags and sacks made of woven poly to better protect the contents about a decade ago,” says Welch. “At Alltech’s Feed Division, we recently transitioned to woven poly as well.

Ranchers appreciate the tough “skin” of the BOPP bags. There’s less waste, less spoilage and less infestation.

“And it doesn’t hurt that the bags look great. The color printing that’s available on BOPP is vivid and really helps to sell the brand in the feed store,” adds Welch.

Until there’s widespread recycling, even the landfill looks better with BOPP bags

What’s next? Welch mentions a hope that post-use recycling will become a practical option for ranchers in coming years. Currently, there’s little infrastructure and process around post-use recycling and the altruistic incentives for ranchers to recycle aren’t enough today to outweigh the reality that it’s far easier to dispose of the bags through the traditional landfill stream.

But, even in that case, the news is still good: Assuming a feed sack is thrown away and never recycled, it takes up less than one-quarter the space in landfill than other options and biodegrades at roughly the same rate.