Poly Bag Suffocation Requirements

Poly bag suffocation requirements are becoming more prevalent, but there is a lot of confusion about where, when, and why they are required. Our blog post provides extensive detail on this topic:  https://www.ecoenclose.com/blog/suffocation-warnings-packaging-requirements-legal-guidelines-to-know/

Read on for a summary of what this means for your business and EcoEnclose products.

State/City Requirements: In the United States, five states (Massachusetts, California, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia) and two major cities (New York City and Chicago) currently have legislation regarding suffocation warnings on poly bags. At least a dozen US cities have also adopted similar legislation (including Avondale, AZ; Big Stone Gap, VA; East Baton Rouge Parish, LA; Flagstaff, AZ; Gering, NE; Norton, VA; Prince William County, VA; Saint Louis County, MO; South Bend, IN; South Hill, VA; Stamford, CT; and Weatherford, TX). Canada has also enacted similar legislation.

Legislation across all states and cities applies only to bags that are “1 mil”, or 0.001 inches or less, in thickness. Note that none of EcoEnclose's products are 1 mil or less (our poly mailers are 2.5 mil and our flap & seal bags are 1.5 mil). Thus, none of EcoEnclose's poly-based packaging is subject to state or city suffocation warning regulations. 

If you are looking to print your bags with suffocation warnings, you want to get the language right! States and cities have differences in the specific language they suggest using as a suffocation warning, but all accept the following warning.

Warning: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children. Do not use this bag in cribs, beds, carriages, or playpens. This bag is not a toy.

Amazon FBA: Amazon has strict requirements in place for these poly bags in order to facilitate smooth operations within their warehouse and protect themselves from any liability. Poly bags used to protect units must meet the following requirements:

  • The thickness of the bag must be at least 1.5 mil (thousandth of an inch).
  • The poly bag must be transparent.
  • Poly bags with a 5-inch opening or larger (measured when flat) must have a suffocation warning, either printed on the bag itself or attached as a label. Failure to apply a suffocation warning may lead to the items being re-bagged.
    • For example: Warning: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children. Do not use this bag in cribs, beds, carriages, or playpens. This bag is not a toy.
  • The warning should be printed or placed in a prominent location and in a legible font size for the size of the bag

What does this mean for EcoEnclose products? EcoEnclose currently offers four poly packaging options – 100% Recycled Poly Mailers, 50% Recycled Bubble Mailers, and 100% Recycled Flap & Seals.

  • Because our 100% Recycled Poly Mailers and 32.6% Recycled Bubble Mailers are (1) 2.5 mil and (2) designed to be used as outer shipping packages rather than protective packaging for warehousing and fulfillment, these are not subject to any state, city or Amazon FBA (or Target and Walmart) suffocation warning requirements.
  • On the other hand, our 100% Recycled Flap & Seals are designed to be used as inner protective packaging for warehousing and fulfillment. If you use these Flap & Seals as part of your Amazon FBA strategy, they need a suffocation warning. The suffocation warning can be printed directly on the bag or written on a label that is adhered to the bag. Our Flap & Seal bags are available with suffocation warnings in 3 languages. 
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