Although everyone uses them, very few people know what garbage bags are made of. Unfortunately, this can lead to costly mistakes, including throwing your hard-earned profits out with the trash.
In general, trash bags are made from polyethylene, which is a petroleum-based resin that is preferred because of its tear resistance and strength. There are three different types of polyethylene resins used to manufacture trash bags:
LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE are all polyolefins with unique molecular structures that offer each type of garbage bag different properties. In fact, these plastics are the only ones with a lower specific gravity than water, which is why these resins will float. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three resins and how choosing the right garbage bag can positively impact your bottom line.
Low density polyethylene is an older resin, but you can still find it being used in more lower-end utility can liners. This thermoplastic was first made by Imperial Chemical Industries back in 1933. In terms of its molecular structure, LDPE has a less tightly-packed structure and the most extensive branching of any polyolefins, which is why it has a lower density, lower tensile strength and higher resilience.
In addition to garbage bags, LDPE resins are regularly used for a range of different wash bottles, containers, dispensing bottles, computer components, and more. However, when it comes to the manufacturing of garbage bags, LDPE has been largely replaced by linear low density polyethylene.
Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) boasts a vast number of short branches, which is structurally different from LDPE due to the absence of long chain branching. Although LLDPE has shorter molecular branches, they are able to easily move without being entangled. In contrast, LDPE resin has longer branches which can easily become entangled with each other. This is why LLDPE is substantially stronger than LDPE and preferred over LDPE in the manufacturing of garbage bags.
In fact, LLDPE are the most common type of garbage bag and are able to withstand more puncture damage and greater impact. The unique tear-resistance and puncture-resistance properties of LLDPE make it ideal for applications where extra stretch and/or strength is needed. This type of heavy-duty garbage bag boasts the ability to accommodate waste with jagged or sharp edges. A few key advantages of garbage bags made of LLDPE include:
High density polyethylene (HDPE) polymer chains feature less branching. Because of the reduced molecular branching, HDPE material is less permeable and more ridged than LDPE. These garbage bags are temperature resistant, offer a large strength-to-density ratio, and offer excellent moisture protection.
Garbage bags made from HDPE resins are the ideal choice for bathrooms, lightweight trash, and paper. Grocery store bags are made from HDPE because of its exceptional strength. While extremely strong, garbage bags made from HDPE material will tear easily if they are punctured. A few key advantages of HDPE can liners include:
Let’s look at head-to-head comparison of the two most popular garbage bag resins — LLDPE garbage bags vs HDPE garbage bags:
HDPE Garbage Bags
LLDPE Garbage Bags
Efficiency of the Material
The Best Material Savings
Good Material Savings
Good Resistance to Tearing
Better Resistance to Tearing
Better Resistance to Puncturing
Good Resistance to Puncturing
Good Load Capacity
Good Load Capacity
Understanding what garbage bags are made of and choosing the right type of can liner can substantial implications to your business. In many instances, AAA Polymer has been able to help our customers experience significant savings by switching from a more expensive can liner to a more suitable solution.
As can liner experts, we offer a full catalog of different commercial garbage bags designed for virtually every application. We'll use our years of experience to match your needs to the best solution and work to reduce your trash bag costs.
Contact AAA Polymer today to request your free garbage bag audit.