When it comes to trash can liners, one person’s trash may be another person’s treasure.
They are not exactly glamorous, but having the right kind of trash can liner in your facility’s trash receptacles can make you the unsung star of the office. Choosing the best liner to meet your needs will make your job and the jobs of your employees more efficient, and if selected appropriately, will have a substantial impact on your company’s bottom line (we promise that’s not an exaggeration). Let’s outline some facts you need to know to make an informed choice.
When determining the liner that’s right for you, the first question you will need to ask yourself is what kind of weight load are they going to bear? Are your trash cans in high traffic areas where employees or customers dump food or heavy/wet/messy waste? Are they positioned in places where workers may be discarding sharp or jagged objects? And finally, once you pick up the trash, how are you going to get it where it needs to go?
One of your first considerations is the thickness of the plastic making up your trash can liners. In the past, it was believed that the higher the thickness of the plastic the better, but recent advances have flipped that thinking on its head. In reality, high-quality linear low-density liners (LLDPE) offer the most flexibility and resistance to puncture or tearing. If you are going to have sharp or pointed objects in your trash, LLDPE is what you want. Gauge the liner on the task, not the “feel” of the thickness of plastic.
High-density polyethylene liners (HDPE) are great options for heavy duty trash loads that don’t pose the risk of puncture from sharp bits and pieces. HDPE trash can liners are made from one of the strongest types of polyethylene available. As a result, they can use less material while maintaining strength which makes them a greater value when it comes to efficiency, shipping and storage.
It is important to find the right size liner to meet the needs of each trash receptacle in your space. A too-tight liner is just asking for a messy explosion when pushed past capacity, and a too-large liner looks untidy, can be harder to manage, and means that you are paying for plastic you do not need (and are literally throwing away).
Trash can liners should hang approximately 3-4 inches over the side of the receptacle. This ensures that trash will have space to avoid overflow issues, even in a cramped trash can, and also saves you money by ensuring you are purchasing only the size liners you need. That is a good tip for facility managers to keep in mind as you put together a liner strategy — address each type of receptacle separately. When it comes to trash can liners, it is not one-size-fits-all.
Trash can liners come in a variety of colors, so if you have your waste color coded, it is easy to find the shade to meet your needs. Most commonly, though, color selection comes down to transparent or opaque. Each trash can should be addressed according to its specific needs and usage. For instance, if you will be transporting trash throughout a location to reach a dumpster or larger receptacle, you might want to opt for opaque. Hospitals and medical facilities often choose to go with opaque bags for this reason. You may also want opaque bags for bathrooms, kitchens or other places where a mess is generated, red for hazardous, yellow for infectious waste, or blue for linen.
Liner seams run along the bottom of the bag and work to stop leaks and reinforce the bottom. There are a number of types of bag seals, so it is important to know which would work best for your needs.
- Star seal: the star seal is designed in the center of the liner bottom without gussets, which helps prevent leakage. This is the most commonly found seam on the market today and is the strongest option since it’s a uniform seal.
- Gusseted seal: a gusseted seal is flat with side indents and is one of the weakest seams you’ll find, so be wary if your waste often contains leaky messes or is heavy.
- Flat seal: a flat seal bag is exactly what it sounds like. It is typically pretty leak-proof, but it does not handle well and isn’t easy to mold to the shape of your trash can.
Storing your liners is not as simple as it sounds. Many managers want extra liners on-hand for quick and easy replacement in an emergency, but storing them in or near trash receptacles is asking for trouble. Keeping them at the bottom of the garbage can means they can be compromised if there’s a leak, and hanging them over the edge of the can exposes them to tearing and punctures. It is best to keep liners in a dedicated space away from waste and trash cans.
If your business is focused on being sustainable, there are a number of ways you can incorporate eco-friendliness into your trash can liner strategy. For example, Revolution Bag trash can liners are made primarily of post-consumer waste for an eco-friendly option. Also, be sure that you are using the right size can liner with the proper resin type. The savings, in both dollars and plastic, could be enormous.
Not All Liners Are Created Equal
Ultimately, the best strategy is to build a plan around your facility’s traffic, waste load, industry and usage, and select liners of the right material and sizing based on those needs. Audit the facility and create a custom plan that addresses each type of trash receptacle, in every area of your facility. Contact us to speak with one of our experts about selecting the right trash can liner to turn your waste into savings.