Can Liner Basics - Tricks of the Trade

Plastic Type



Makes “crinkly” noisewhen you move it

– Think of asupermarket bag

Harder to start or puncturea hole in than Low Density (LLD)

Once a hole is started, willspread quickly or “zipper”

Thinner thanLLD, but canhold same or greaterweight as LLD liners

Gauge (thickness) measured in Micron


Some suggested applications: cansw/o edges, paper,food, smoothheavy objects

Substantialcost savings on a per-liner basis

Linear Low-Density(LLD)


Quiet whenmoved – No“crinkly”

s ound

Easier to start or puncturea hole in thanHD

A hole will spread less quickly than


Gauge (thickness) measured in


Most common type in the industry

Multipurposeapplicatio ns – recommended for sharperobje cts and tough transport conditions



Reprocessedor made from recycled material

The EPA’s Comprehensive ProcurementGuideline recommends 10-100% post- consumer recycled content

Lower capacity for weight… but at a lowercost

Thick er reprobag is needed to lift the same amount of static weight as a virgin resin bag

Bottom Seals


Star Seal


Most common type in the market

Bottom of the bag looks like a star or appears “bunched up”

Conforms better to larger, round trash cans

Minimum leak potential

Most expensive and highest quality

Star seal liners are designated by two dimensions (i.e. 40 x 46)








Tricks of the Trade Can Liners


Gusset Seal


A flat style bag

Both sides are tucked in which forms agusset

If bag is lying flat it will have a third dimension like an expandable envelope

Conforms reasonably well to the shape of the trash can

May leak – potential for weak bottom

Least expensive

Gusset seal liners are designated by three dimensions (i.e. 23 x 17 x




Tricks of the Trade Can Liners


Flat Seal


Bag will lay out perfectly flat like a tube with aseal on one end

or resemble a pillow case

Does not conform to the shape of the trashcan

Holds 20-30%more thana star sealed

Medium leakpotential

Flat seal liners are designated by two dimensions (i.e. 40x 46)








Tricks of the trade can liners 3

Package Dispensing


Flat (Bulk) Pack


Individually folded and boxedfor one at-a- time dispensing


Coreless Rolls


No cardboard cylinder

Perforated edges OR

Interleaved fornon-perforated dispensing




Li ners rolled together on top ofa cardboard cylinder (similar to paper towel rolls)

Perforated edges


Considerationsand Tips



of Thumb


Check the competitors’ label!  Most product information is listed on the product label.







always important


Film thickness is no longer the only standard for judging overall bag strength. The development of advanced resins and additives has changed the standard method for selecting the correct can liner. Manufacturers are producing thinner, lighter trash bags that are strongerand more durable than thicker bags made from lesser quality raw materials.





























a bag




1)Choose bag size and bottom seal of theliner based on type of trash can being used

¾ Some manufacturerswillstate liner sizes in “gallons” in an attempt to offer smaller liners that use less plastic.

¾ Most manufacturers use the item number to indicate the liner size even though it is not the actual size of the liner.

¾ Star sealed can liners are the most expensive and highest quality since they conform better to larger, round trash cans.

¾ Gusset sealed bags are the least expensive and will tend to leak, unlike star seal or flat seal.


2) Choose plastic type (HD or LLD)

¾ High density liners are lower in cost than low density liners.

¾ Recycled plastic or repro liners yield a bag with a lower capacity for weight at a lower cost.A thickerrepro liner is needed to lift the same amount of static weight as a virgin resin bag.


3) Verifythe gauge or thickness of the liner

¾ Some manufacturers avoid stating theactual thickness of the liners, an attempt to sell less plastic for a higher price.

¾ There is no governing agency to ensure that thicknesses listed on the carton is what is actually in the box.  Weighing the case and comparing against other brands will help identify any differences.  Less weight equals lessplastic.

¾ Many manufacturers will test liner samples in their lab to give you the actual mill/mic thickness of a competitive product for comparison purposes.


4) Check howmanyliners are in the case and calculate the cost per can liner pricing

¾ Fewer liners in a case gives theappearance of a better value because of the lower price

¾ Calculatingthe cost per can linerwill give you the true cost per use.


5)When indoubt, weigh the case! Thiswillhelp determine what’s reallyin the box!















Static load (lifting strength) is the best way to choose bag strength.  Approximate gauge equivalents for static load are…

Can Liners Tricks of the Trade chart 










Tricks of the Trade Strength for Can Liners 








Black, white and natural are the most common 

Natural (otherwise clear or transparent) are ideal for areas where transparency is required for security purposes 

Specialty colors (red, yellow, blue, brown, gray) are ideal for at-a-glance content identification (i.e. blue bags may indicate recyclable waste) 














2 dimension (i.e. 38x60) used with Star, Flat and occasionally Gusset seal bags 

38 = face (17) + depth (21) of the bag 

60 = height of the bag 


3 dimension (i.e. 17x21x60) used only on Gusset seal bags 

17 = face of the bag 

21 = depth of the gusset 

60 = height of the bag 


Tricks of the Trade 

Some manufacturers will state liner sizes in “gallons” instead of dimensions in an attempt to offer smaller sized liners that use less plastic 

Most manufacturers use the item # to indicate the liner size, that’s not always the case!. Don’t be fooled by the item #, check the actual size on the box 



Most Common Cans & Recommended Liner Sizes

Can Liners Tricks of the Trade Liner Sizes



Tricks of the Trade Brand Positioning Can Liners