The Truth About Large Garbage Bags

Posted by Vivian McNeil on

Last week a good friend of mine, Tim, gave me a tour of his warehouse. His company manufactures various types of containers for household cleaning supplies. Tim was complaining about the accumulating garbage by the shipping station and the stuffing paper that was scattered all over the place. It seemed to be really bothering Tim and was slowing down order fulfillment. I mentioned to him about getting the right size gallon trash bag to maximize the capacity that the trash receptacle can hold. Since he was already upset with the mess in the warehouse, his response was rather intense. “Do you know how many of those 55-gallon garbage bags I ordered? About a thousand, and now I am out of them and using these flimsy bags I picked up from the store next door”. At that point I tried moving off the topic and asked him what he thought about going out for lunch. 

Phantom garbage bags, true or not true?

When you purchase a case of garbage bags and the box says a thousand count, are there really a thousand bags inside? The fact that the bag thickness says two millimeters, is it really two millimeters thick? If the trash bag dimensions say sixty-seven by seventy-nine inches are those the real dimensions? All these are legitimate questions that a garbage bag owner can ask.


The truth is that no one is counting, measuring, or weighing the garbage bags which they purchase in bulk. Who is interested in messing up the neatly stacked bags? It might not be a bad idea to measure the dimensions or weigh the thickness since you only need to do that with one bag. But in general, I can’t imagine someone making sure that they are not getting skimped on the count of garbage bags. 

Manufacturers of heavy-duty trash bags tend to know the truth that people are not going to count the number of bags and complete the count with “phantom garbage bags”. Yes, that’s the truth about large garbage bags! The actual trash bag count can be well short of what it says on the outside of the box. Many popular household brands know that no one is weighing the trash bag thickness and they take advantage of that as well. 

How should one know if they are getting the right trash bag count in the case?

Let’s put you in the shoes of the ones who are making these trash bags. At the end of the production line, these bags are piled and automatically placed in the case. This is all happening quickly as is for all plastic production lines. The objective of these production lines is to produce the max amount of cases in the shortest amount of time. These get stacked on a pallet and then placed on a truck and shipped out of the warehouse to the supplier. An honest garbage bag manufacturer hires a quality control manager who takes samples throughout the production and inspects them for the goal count, weight, and dimensions. Unfortunately, most brands don’t do this, and no one ever knows how many bags are in the box. 

There is one area which they cannot get around and that is the physical weight of the box. Whatever weight is listed on the outside of the box is what it should weigh. If it matches then you know that you should have the correct number of bags inside the box and were not deceived about the thickness as advertised on the outside of the box. If you're off by one pound or higher, it must mean that you’ve got some of those “phantom garbage bags” in that case. 

The coreless garbage roll advantage

Did you ever wonder why there is a cardboard tube in the center of a toilet paper roll? “Of course, it allows the toilet paper manufacturer to roll up the paper on the roll”. You just might be giving these big bathroom brands a bit more than the benefit of the doubt. Chances are that they are giving you less toilet paper sheets when they stick the cardboard roll in the middle while keeping the same big shape and puffiness. It’s the same thing when it comes to purchasing wholesale garbage bags by the roll. If there is a cardboard tube in the center of the roll you're missing out on some trash bags. In fact, you can miss out on approximately an extra ten to fifteen trash bags.

As a heavy-duty garbage bag consumer, you got to go with the coreless trash bags to make sure that you get the maximum number of bags in a case. Let’s take a large fulfilment center that ships tens of thousands of corrugated boxes daily. Such a facility can produce tons of waste and go through hundreds or garbage bags daily to gather all the rubbish that it takes to pack those boxes. Coreless garbage bag rolls will make an economical difference and provide your company with significant cash savings in your annual budget. 

The garbage bag challenge

Getting the right garbage bag size does not sound difficult, but this point is often overlooked when purchasing trash bags. In fact, most people think it’s simple. Whatever gallon size is your trash bin, that’s what size trash bag you should get. So why is it that most of our garbage bags keep on falling into the bin and how do we keep those bags secure in order to use the optimal container space?

How to keep large garbage bags from falling in

Let’s discuss warehouses and large facilities that are using a Rubbermaid® Brute® 32-gallon trash bin. It’s highly likely that right after one of the workers place the trash bag in the container, someone will throw  something heavy into the bin, “There it goes, gone! the garbage bag has just become another piece of trash resting at the bottom of the can”. The simple solution would be to strap a jumbo rubber band around the lip of the trash bin which will hold the bag in place. If you are  anticipating heavier garbage, than try using two or more rubber bands. Best part of this technique is that when the can is full, one can use these bands to tie the top of the bag instead of having a wrestling match with the bag. I have had a few of these fights myself when trying to dispose of an above ground pool cover in a heavy-duty contractor garbage bag. The only way I was able to tie the bag was by jumping on it and stretching out the two flaps atop the bag. One can avoid the garbage bag showdown by using strong rubber bands to securely close the trash bag.

How to keep tall kitchen trash bags from caving in

The good thing about tall kitchen trash bags is that they are thin enough and you don’t have to fight when closing them. The thickness averages around .72 millimeters which makes it easy to make a knot at the side of the trash bin giving it a snug fit which will keep it from falling in. For those who simply don’t have the time or can’t seem to get the right fit, there is a new item called the Trash Bag Cinch. It is a hook which comes with an adhesive tape strip and mounts to the outside of your kitchen container. Simply grab the extra amount of garbage bag with your fist and hook it around the cinch. Make sure that you are not using a double top mount pull out trash can, because placing the cinch on the outside will interfere when placing the bin back in the cabinet base.

How to keep those 95-gallon outdoor trash liners from caving in

Those like me,  who live in suburban neighborhoods, wheel out a large 95-gallon outdoor trash can for scheduled garbage pickup. Keeping these big boys clean can be quite a challenge, especially when it comes to the summertime. These trash bins stink to high heaven and are often full of maggots. A trash liner can be a real good solution for helping you keep it clean and odor free. Assuming you are using a 95-gallon trash liner, you are faced with the challenge of really heavy trash making that bag cave in. Here is what you need to do to keep wide garbage bags from falling in.

Extend it a little more than a foot around the bust of the top front of the can and wrap it real tight. Now you should feel the tension when your pulling the bag to the back lip of top of the bin. Every scenario is different, but the tension should be efficient enough from keeping the bag from falling in when placing smaller trash bag within the bin. If you feel that the bag around the top back of the bin is too loose, use a jumbo rubber band to secure. The night before garbage pickup, close the trash bag and you will have a clean trash can the next day. 

Keeping the garbage bag in the can be quite a challenge, but all it takes is a little exploration as to what will keep it secure when the first few pieces of trash fall inside. You might find something in your local hardware store which might work better than the ideas we mentioned above. All it takes is a few minutes and some product testing as to what works best and keeps your trash bags from caving in. Hey you never know, maybe you can become a billionaire on garbage just like Wayne Huizenga did with his company, Waste Management. Good luck!

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