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Input on bagging your own salt from bulk

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by markkps, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. markkps

    markkps Junior Member
    from 45014
    Messages: 3

    I was wondering if anyone has experience buying bulk salt, then loading it in your own 50lb bags?

    I have looked at the costs, and the per bag price including labor for bagging will still be less then what I am paying for 50lb bags a skid at a time from my supplier.

    Also interested in any experience you can share doing this. I thought we would get a 2-ton load, use an old hopper to shovel the bulk into, then feed into 50 lb bags they we purchased from a supplier.

    Thanks for your input!
  2. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    We did this in a pinch a couple years ago. I worked out ok, you just have to use it fairly soon after filling. We had a few bags left over and they froze up over night. This is exactly what we are going to do this year with my sidewalk guys. I figure they should be able to fill 20 bags in a few minutes. 20 bags of "bagged" salt is around 120 bucks and about 30 bucks to refill with bulk.
  3. Mdwstsnow512

    Mdwstsnow512 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    you could also use buckets,
    a little more expensive but alot easier ot handle, and reuse
    and keep dry
  4. markkps

    markkps Junior Member
    from 45014
    Messages: 3

    I was afraid of bags freezing up. I have a spare trailer that I can store the bags in.

    If this works the plan next year is to bag in august when its dry and store for the winter.
  5. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    salt packaging

    Getting a 2 ton load is the problem unless you have access
    to a salt reseller that deals in small volume as most of them
    will not dump less than ten tons depending on the location
    simply because of the size of the front end loaders used
    to fill bulk trailers.

    Buying ten tons is about 10 cubic yards of yards of halite "rock salt".
    You would be better off buying 2 pallets of the Ropak rectangular pails
    of 35 pound capacity with the sealed locking lids to do this as you
    could buy your bulk and pack it using old traffic cones set between the
    rungs of a ladder set on saw horses with a larger portion of the cone
    cut off to fill the pails quickly.

    The problem with bagging is the bags do not resist moisture where
    HDPE bucket will.

    You can pack a lot of salt in the rectangular pails with or without lids
    and stack them in an area that is enclosed and or heated at a
    minimum temperature easily.

    You would want a pair or three dehumidifiers to remove the excess
    moisture that will be present to save you from dealing with salt that
    becomes stuck if you insist on bagging as it turns to a solid mass-
    the reason this happens is because bagged halite does not contain
    anti-caking agent WHICH is why you have salt bricks at the time you
    need and want it most.

    If you can purchase 2 tons of bulk Halite and it has been treated with an
    anto caking agent you will be better of using the rectangular pails as the
    bags used for sand bagging are not moisture resistant and you will need
    a very strong twine being the nylon twines used for surveying and concrete
    work to tie the bags BUT the bags will be weaker than the twine and will fail
    eventually at the neck of the bag. .

    Using a millers knot to tie the bags is the fastest way to tie them but the
    issue is the bags, unless you have a heated garage with access to several
    dehumidifiers to remove the excess moisture that will be present due to
    the salt attracting moisture THROUGH the bag walls.

    Bagging by hand is very labor intensive and counter productive where and simply scooping with flat shovel into the the buckets with the cones will be faster until it becomes hard to gather enough to fill a pail quickly.

    You can forget about using a plastic or aluminum grain scoop as it will break very quickly.
    and they will have no balance when shoveling salt as they are ment for grain.

    The flat shovels wih the yellow non-conductive fiberglass reinforced handles will work
    well for this. you have to remember the flat shovel is better if you have bulk on a concrete floor as the floor becomes your freind as the floor becomes the fulcrum to make it easier to shovel the salt. from the BOTTOM of the pile as you will only be fighting your self scooping into the pile.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  6. Green Grass

    Green Grass PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,577

    we use 5 gallon buckets that can be resealed and it works great and easier for crews to have handy
  7. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    salt etc.

    You may not be able to buy any bulk in August as they are filling stock piles.

    You will need to buy dehumidifiers if you expect to use an unheated trailer and run them around the clock, freezing is not the issue; clumping and caking is the issue from salts attracting moisture.
  8. Dailylc

    Dailylc Senior Member
    Messages: 226

    I have been doing this for 4 yrs now at least. We have never had a problem with the salt freezing in the bags and the are much easier to handle and stack in the truck than buckets. In the past we were using the Fiberglas grass seed bags. The downfall to that was closing them. This year we are trying something new. Sandbags! The reason we are doing this is, once filled we can tie them shut and they are much more compact and easy to handle.
    I will post a couple pics later.
    As far as cost. The salt cost me $68 a ton, sandbags $10 per 500 and it takes 2 guys at most 1 1/2 hrs to bag 1 ton $36 roughly.
    It's paying off for me. Give it a try.

  9. snowtech

    snowtech Member
    Messages: 66

    dailylc, this is a great idea i have been kicking around trying. where do you purchase the empy sand bag? do u just use twine to tie off the end or zip ties?

    thanks in advance
  10. deere615

    deere615 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,919

    5 gallon buckets work better But I usually still just buy bags its easier IMO they load me with the forklift the bags done freeze up usually and I dont waste time and labor shoveling salt

    MARK SUPPLY Member
    Messages: 49

    waste of time

    While you are filling buckets and bags saving pennies, I am out making dollars:nod:
  12. markkps

    markkps Junior Member
    from 45014
    Messages: 3

    Thanks to everyone for some great input!

    LEON I respect your detailed thinking. I fortunately have a salt supplier nearby that I can get a bed load of salt (1 ton) and then I will bag right out of the bed until its gone. I have the bed tarpped so it does not corrode the bed.

    DailyLC I have not done this before, but your logic agrees with mine. According to my costs estimates I can save at least $1 per bag versus buying skids.

    Can I ask your source for sand bags. I was going to buy from Uline but they are $39/100. Also...how do you guys load the bags...scoop shovel?

    Thansk for all the great input!!
  13. Kwise

    Kwise Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    I've been kicking around this idea too. What I'm thinking is build a bin to keep in the truck bed and have the salt dumped right into that. Then shovel into my tailgate spreader. If I keep it tarped, should be ok? Anyone else try this?
  14. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    salt etc...............

    Gemplers of Wisconsin has had sand bags in the past, I hope your salt supplier has had anti caking agent sprayed on the Halite that you buy from him/her.......................... That is the major reason I always suggest the pails because moisture is your enemy as far as Halite is concerned as Halite is hygroscopic and attacts moisture whre the pail prevents moisture from collecting on the Halite salts.

    You could always mix in some uncooked white rice to absorb the moisture in the salt and keep it free flowing as white rice is not expensive in bulk.

    I suggested an aluminum rung ladder and traffic cones previously because that is what works and a lot areas that are flood prone and do not have portable sand bagging machinery do it that way with sand dumped on the ground and shoveled into the cones while someone is holding the bag around the edge of the cone- its nothing more than an open mouth bag filling spout.

    Filling bags is a VERY labor intensive operation if done manually and I have done it previously for many years.

    Even if you buy a small ice bagging stand to put the sand bag under you will save your self a huge amount of time otherwise because you will spill a lot of material with a flat or digging shovel because you have to AIM it into the mouth of the the bag.

    That is also why I suggested the pails from Ropak as they will be reuseable EVERY YEAR and you can store salt sand mixes with no issues.

    Just be sure you use a millers knot to tie the bags or you will regret it later.
  15. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    salt etc.............

    unless you use a bin that is moisture resistant you will have some difficulty; you could line a small wooden bin with the plastic pig panels but by the time its done you could buy a plastic bin from "Rubbermaid" and make it a salt/sand bin and simply have a supply of rice to dump in the salt to keep it free flowing.
  16. Kwise

    Kwise Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    I've been told bulk salt will not flow through a tailgate spreader. Is it a different consistency than bagged? Does rice help it flow or is it there just to absorb moisture? I would think if I can manage to keep the salt dry I should be able to shovel it into my tailgate spreader. Thanks for the advice
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  17. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    The problem with sandbags is that they break down in the UV light. I tried sandbags for my ballast a couple of years ago and left them in the back of my truck for most of the winter. By the end of the winter they were starting to fall apart.

    If you can keep them in a place with no light until you need them, then you'll probably be OK.

    My only experience with this is that last year I tried running bulk through my push spreader on some side-walks to try it out.

    The salt got wet and didn't want to flow out the spreader at all. I just ended up filling the spreader and took a cup to scoop it out and throw it.
  18. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    All that work to save $100??.....:eek:.... I'm with Mark on this one!
  19. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    So your saying you wouldn't spend 20 bucks in labor to save over 100.00, thats insane! Times that by 10 storms....thats almost 1K!
  20. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    Doing what??