Trash Can Liners - How to Buy

Trash bags, can liners, or garbage bags?

How to choose which is right for you.

Generically speaking, they are all the same thing – plastic bags used to catch whatever is thrown into your trash can. In residential settings, the term garbage bags tends to show up more often. In commercial/business environments they will more likely be known as can liners.
Once past the name, the differences appear. Since we are a commercial supplier, we will use trash liners. In order to purchase a liner that will perform economically and reliably the first choice to make is between high density and low density liners.

Low Density for the tough stuff

These liners are made to hold heavier loads, wet loads, and loads with sharp objects. They are thick and flexible and very resistant to punctures and tears from sharp objects. Their strength and resistance
to damage makes them great for use in kitchens, construction sites, manufacturing and other areas where items with sharp edges are in the trash. They are more expensive than high density bags but far less likely to leave a trail of liquid behind when moved.

How thick should they be?

Choice of thickness runs between 0.9 and 6.0 mil. The lower the number, the lower the thickness. A standard liner for kitchen use can be as thin as 0.9 mil. In a commercial kitchen where everything from can lids to hot liquids go into the liner, you will need a much thicker bag. Same thing goes for construction site debris..

High Density for lighter loads

High density trash bags are made differently than low density trash bags. They are thinner not as pliable as low density bags. (You have probably handled these bags when purchasing clothing.) So, while they are more prone to punctures, they are still strong enough to carry sizeable loads of things like paper, clothing, and other soft materials. They are at their best in a typical office, restroom, or fabric handling environment. They are generally noticeably less expensive because they use less plastic.

What thickness to buy? High density bags are usually measured in microns, which is one thousandth (.001) of a millimeter. The range is from 6 to 22 microns which equates to a load capacity between 16 and 85 pounds, respectively.


So now you have an idea of the type of trash liner you need. Now you need to know how big a liner to buy.

Two Measurements Will Give You the Size You Need

Trash liners are sold by a width x height measurement.
To find the first, measure the outside of your can.
Square cans are easy - measure all four sides and divide the total by two.
Ex: 4 X 10” = 40 / 2 = 20. (just keep in mind that your 20” bag has two layers, giving you the 40” total)
Round cans - measure the diameter of the top of the can and multiply by pi (3.14)
Ex: 18” x 3.14 = 56.52” / 2 = 28.26”
(If you are using a measuring tape, you can cheat and just wrap the tape around the can.)

We hope this has taken some of the confusion out of choosing the right trash can liner. If you still need advice on the weight/thickness of the bags, please don’t hesitate to call us at NLC Solutions. We are happy to answer your questions. We will also have the bag you need in stock at to-the-trade prices.

Call (908) 753-3900.

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