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A Complete Guide to Bulk Bins for Shipping and Material Handling

Bulk bins are reusable, high-capacity storage containers that simplify material storage for warehousing and logistics operations.

A Complete Guide to Bulk Bins for Shipping and Material Handling

In many facilities, they’re a more practical alternative to Gaylord boxes and other disposable containers. Bulk storage bins are designed for long-term use, and they’re both lightweight and durable. They’re gentle on products, easy to sanitize, and compatible with virtually every material handling system.

Of course, plastic bulk bins vary substantially in design, cost, and features. If you’re outfitting, you need to be aware of those differences — and we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know when choosing bulk bins. 

For guidance with a specific application, call Solus Group at 314.696.0200 to speak with a member of our sales team.

How Bulk Bins Help Businesses Store and Ship Products

Well-designed bulk bins can resist weather and equipment impacts, and they’re easy to transport via forklift or other material handling equipment (or manually, for units equipped with casters). 

Perhaps most importantly, bulk bins are typically made from high-density polyethylene. Plastic is easy to sanitize, resistant to corrosion, and appropriate for meeting USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) standards. They’re excellent for limiting long-term costs, as they don’t need to be replaced as frequently as wood crates. 

Bulk bins have become essential in a number of industries including:

  • Food and Harvesting  
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Recycling
  • Industrial & Logistics 
  • Defense 

Solus Group carries products from Decade Products, which are extremely rugged, reusable, and optimized for a variety of applications. Below, we’ll walk you through a few of the most popular options. 

Choosing the Right Bulk Bins for Your Operation

Plastic bulk bins aren’t complicated equipment, but certain features may make them better choices for your facility. Key factors include:

MACX Solid Bulk Bins


In the United States and Canada, bulk bins typically use a 40" depth, 48" width footprint. Standard heights vary from 29” to 40",  but a consistent width and depth are crucial when stacking containers. 

Apart from 40" x 48", other industry standards include:

  • 30" x 32"
  • 45" x 48"
  • 65 x 48”

It’s worth noting that 40" X 48" is extremely well established in the Americas. In any case, make sure your containers have a consistent footprint — particularly if you’re using them for shipping to other facilities. You don’t want to compel your partners to change their process to handle your bins.


Stacking bulk bins optimizes storage space without mezzanines or racking. 

However, stackable bulk bins must be secured properly; if they wiggle at all, they’re a potential danger for workers. Bulk bins should be designed to lock in place when stacked. 

Buyers should be aware of the manufacturer’s instructions for stacking. Never stack past the maximum limit (many MACX containers, for example, can stack to 10 units high).


General Design

Bulk containers can be vented or solid; venting makes sanitization easier and is necessary for certain applications. Solid bins may be a better choice for shipping, particularly for fragile products. 

Bins may also be collapsible or fixed. Collapsible units may be cheaper to ship and store. 


Bulk bins may have runners, fork pockets, or casters to enhance mobility. If necessary, determine how those features will affect stackability. 

While you’re assessing your material handling equipment (MHE), consider specialized MHE for handling bulk containers. Read: The Bin Dumper FAQ: Everything You Need to Know About the Better Way to Dump Bins.

MACX Bulk Bins 

MACX Solid and Vented Bulk Bins

Available in solid and vented designs, MACX Bins are a standard for bulk storage. They feature a 1,500 lbs. capacity and long side runners, which provide a wide space for lift truck forks. A locking mechanism allows for safe stacking.

Standard colors include gray, white, green, blue, and yellow for easy color-coding. With a stack load of 14,000 pounds, MACX Bins meet USDA/HACCP standards. Runner options are available to support any material handling system.

MACXAce Solid and Vented Bulk Bins

MACXAce Bins are available solid or vented designs. They’re similar in design to MACX, but with a 1,000 lbs. capacity and streamlined, economical construction.

Short-side runners are molded into the bin, and long-side runners are available. MACX bins stack interchangeably, so MACXAce bins can be stacked with MACX units. 

Heat- and cold-resistant from -40°F to 140°F, MACXAce Bins meet USDA/HACCP standards for food product handling.

MACX48 Solid and Vented Bulk Bins

An ideal choice for agriculture, MACX48 features a 48" X 48" shipping size and 1,500 lbs. capacity. The square bins feature long-side runners, and the units are stackable, but not interchangeably (MACX48 will stack with MACX bulk bins, but not with MACXAce or MACX bins).  

MACXAce Solid

MACX48 bins are available in gray, blue, white, and yellow. 

Custom Plastic Bulk Bins for Any Application

MACX, MACAce, and MACX48 containers can be customized to meet your operation’s unique needs. While standard options will work well for general purposes, customization can help you get more from your investment:

  • Add stacking or non-stacking casters to enhance mobility.
  • Add drop-doors, removable doors, and cut-outs for part picking and similar tasks.
  • Add secured or locking lids to protect products.
  • Build bulk bins with custom sizes to maximize floor space. 

Solus Group works closely with Decade Products to organize custom projects. To discuss options, call 314.696.0200 or view our complete selection of plastic bulk bins.