Selecting the Right Trash Can Liner

by Lawton Brothers | Sep 15, 2021


Selecting the Proper Trash Can Liner

In the United States, it is estimated that the average person creates approximately 4.5 pounds of waste each day. And, according to Plastics Technology Online, in 2019 there was a whopping 1.33 billion pounds of polyethylene resin used to create consumer trash bags. It’s no secret that we go through an unimaginable amount of waste each day. The real secret, however, is just how much money you could be throwing away by using the wrong trash can liner.

Unsurprisingly, many of us don’t give much thought to the bag we put our garbage into. After all, you’re simply going to throw it away – it doesn’t matter, right? Wrong. Even something as simple as using a bag that is too large can sap your spending away. For example, notice the trash bag hanging far down the side of the can? You may be using 30% or more trash bags than you truly need. If your spending on trash bags is $5,000 annually, you can reduce this by 30% simply  switching to the proper size.

Selecting the Right Material

We should begin by examining the trash that gets tossed into the various receptacles in your facility. If the items are heavy, wet, and/or sharp, you will want low-density polyethylene bags. These are heavier and less likely to compromise due to their fill. On the other hand, most other commercial businesses will want a high-density polyethylene bag. Good for offices and restrooms, these bags are stronger than regular polyethylene and are temperature resistant. Additionally, due to its lighter construction, the cost for freight and storage will be significantly cheaper.

Selecting the Right Size

As mentioned previously, overhanging trash bags is more than just unsightly – it’s costly. If you see a trash bang hanging 4 or more inches over the side, it’s time to reevaluate the bag you’re using. In most cases, the gallon capacity or size is printed on the outside of the container. To calculate your can’s capacity, multiply the length and the width. Here’s the recommended method for obtaining measurements:

Width: ½ of the outer circumference of the container

Length: Height of the container, plus ½ the diameter of the container (add 3 inches for overhang). For square or rectangular cans, use the diagonal measurement of the bottom of the can instead of the diameter.

Selecting the Right Gauge

The gauge, or thickness, of the material needed, will be dependent on the weight of your trash. In previous years, the thicker the bag, the better and stronger it was. As this generally remains the case, as plastic technology has evolved over the years, lighter plastics have come more in demand as they have higher flexibility. In either case, make sure to check the Maximum Load Rating of the bag against the typical weight of your full trash liner. In general, lower gauges will suffice for lighter loads, while higher gauges will be necessary for heavy loads or those with sharp/bulky objects.

Selecting the Right Color

In most instances, opaque liners are recommended to hide the contents of your trash. This is especially important in hospitality or environments where trash might be hauled through public areas. Clear bags can be used for recycling – specially to help with sorting – and orange bags tend to be used in high traffic or dangerous areas (such as roadsides). For medical waste, use red or orange bags that depict the biohazard symbol.

It’s in the Bag

Knowing the type and size of bag best suited for your facility can save much-needed time and money. Be sure to check that you have the right durability and weight threshold for your trash. As always, Lawton Brothers is here to help answer any questions about janitorial products, services, and equipment. Give us a call today at: 800.432.0813.

And be sure to check out this handy online calculator for determining the correct size liner:

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