3 Quick Steps to Can Liner Right Sizing

3 Quick Steps to Can Liner Right Sizing

By AAA Polymer | Can Liners

Mar 16

Did you know can liner right-sizing can make a big difference in your bottom line? While using the can liner of the wrong size may seem trivial, most research suggests facilities use up to 30% more can liner than they need. So if you’re spending anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 a year in can liner, a 30% reduction in costs can result in substantial savings. Best of all, can liner right sizing isn’t as difficult as it may seem. 

At AAA Polymer, we are your local team of experts offering more than 75 different types of can liners. We can conduct a complimentary can liner audit to help guide you to the best solution. Here are a few tips you can use to begin the process of can liner right sizing. 

Choose the Right Type of Resin

Before we talk about can liner right-sizing, it’s vital to explain that there are different types of resins. It’s just as important for you to choose the right type of resin as it is to choose the proper size. In general, there are two different types of can liner resins.

Linear Low-Density Polyethylene Resins

Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) resins are used to make can liners that are tougher and able to stand up to heavier, irregular waste. If you plan on depositing food items, sharp items, yard debris, or construction trash, you’ll need a bag made from LLDPE resins.

  • Good puncture resistance
  • Better tear resistance
  • Good load capacity

High-Density Polyethylene Resins

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) resins are used to make trash bags and can liners that are most suitable for non-sharp objects and paper. These bags are best for lighter trash, like bathroom garbage and office trash. 

  • Better puncture resistance
  • Good tear resistance
  • Better load capacity

What Shape Is Your Trash Can? 

Can liner right-sizing starts with choosing the right bag for each type of receptacle. This step is relatively easy because you will generally have four different types of trash receptacles:

  • Circle trash cans
  • Rectangle trash cans
  • Square trash cans
  • Half-Circle trash cans

Choosing the Right Size Can Liner

If your bag is too small, it will fall into the receptacle. On the other hand, bags that are too large will need banding or require knots to secure them in place. Worst of all, bags that are too large can contribute to significant waste. Instead of choosing a bag that’s too large or too small, it’s best to find a properly fitted can liner. A proper fitting can liner will have anywhere from 3 to 4 inches hanging over the top of the container. 

Commercial can liner sizes are always expressed in two different numbers e.g. 35” x 40”. 

  • The first number of 35” represents the size of the can liner’s opening.
  • The second number of 40” represents the height of the can liner.

To begin can liner right sizing, you need to first measure the can liner’s circumference, which is the distance around the outer opening. Afterward, you should measure the height of the can liner. Caveat: in some instances, the can liner can have three dimensions, which will represent the gusset. 

Finding the Circumference of a Circle Container

To find the circumference of a circle container, simply measure the distance across the opening. This will be the trash can’s diameter. Once you have the diameter of the circle trash can’s opening, multiply it by 3.14 to get the circumference. 

Finding the Circumference of a Square or Rectangle Container

Determining the circumference of a square or rectangle container is much more straightforward. Simply measure all four sides and add them together. 

Finding the Height of a Container

Calculating the height of a container requires you to measure from the floor to the top of the container. 

How to Determine the Bag Width Based on Circumference?

Once you have the circumference of the container, you will need to divide it by 2 to find the proper width of the trash can liner. 

How to Determine the Bag Length?

To properly determine the length of a gusseted bag, you should add the:

  • Height of the container
  • Desired bag overhang
  • The "lay flat" of the container.

And how you measure the lay-flat of the container can vary based on the shape of the receptacle. For instance, the lay flat for circle-shaped containers is the radius of the bottom of the can. On the other hand, the lay flat for rectangular and square-shaped containers is half the diagonal length of the bottom of the can. 

How Do I Know I Should Be Concerned with Can Liner Right Sizing? 

Have you ever walked through your warehouse, office space, or distribution center and noticed trash cans with excessive trash bag hanging over the receptacle? In the industry, we call this Ugly Bag Hangover! In addition to being unattractive, it’s a key indicator you’re using the wrong size trash bag. 

And doing so can lead to an increase in supply costs and substantially contribute to source reduction. Simply put, when you perform can liner right sizing, you can stop wasting money on the wrong trash can liner and start saving! 

Contact AAA Polymer 

At AAA Polymer, we offer decades of experience and have gained an outstanding reputation for our consultative approach. When it comes to can liners, we offer you the tools to make can liner right sizing as easy as possible.

Contact AAA Polymer today for your free Can Liner Audit or visit How to Choose the Right Can Liner and use our interactive tool.

About the Author

AAA Polymer, Inc. was founded in 1974, as a plastic resin and material trading company with an innovative vision to create a company to provide plastic recycling services for industrial/commercial businesses. If you have any questions, we're here for you. Just call us at 718.389.2498.

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