Eliminate Unsightly Bag Overhang and Excess Can Liner Costs

Unsightly Bag Overhang

Do you suffer from Unsightly Bag Overhang? If your trash can liners hang more than 4 inches over the rim of your waste receptacles, then you’ve got a bad case of UBO.

Why should you care? Excess overhang is unattractive, but more importantly, you could be throwing away up to 30% more in cost because of that extra few inches of plastic. A properly fitted can liner should have approximately 3 to 4 inches hanging over the top of the container. Anything beyond that is a waste of time, money, and resources. If you have UBO, then you’ve got an opportunity to address hidden costs in your facility.

Why else should you care? UBO is wasteful and ends up in the landfill. It’s estimated that it takes 100 years for trash bags to fully degrade. Using less plastic means less unnecessary waste in our landfills.

3 Steps to Finding the Perfect Can Liner


1.  Select Proper Resin Type

Resin is the raw material from which can liners are made. There are generally two types to choose from: linear low density or high density. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Will I be throwing away sharp objects?” If the answer is “yes” – typically choose a linear low density liner.

Linear Low Density Polyethylene

  • Highly resistant to puncture and tear
  • The best choice when additional strength and stretch are required
  • Recommended for waste with jagged or sharp edges, such as broken glass, aluminum can lids, plastic cutlery, lawn refuse, and sharp food waste like bones

High Density Polyethylene

  • Generally available in lower gauges
  • Withstands a wide range of temperatures
  • USDA and FDA approved
  • Recommended for general, non-sharp waste, such as food without sharp edges, office waste, rags and linens, etc.

2.  Find the Right Size

It pays to find a liner that’s “just right” for your container. A liner that’s too small will fall into the receptacle when you throw something away. Then you end up with trash that’s missed its mark, waste all over the inside of the container, and a horrible smell.

A bag that’s too large adds hidden costs to your operation, more waste to the landfill, and results in wasted overhead time knotting or banding to secure it in place.

Use the formulas below to find the liner that’s just the right size (inches):

  • Liner Width
    1/2 Outer Circumference of Container
  • Liner Length (Round Containers)
    Container Height + Container Bottom Diameter + 3 inches (for proper overhang)
  • Liner Length (Square or Rectangular Containers)
    Container Height + Diagonal of Container Bottom
  • Or, if math gives you a headache, use this handy calculator to determine proper size

Trash Container Measurement

3.  Choose Strength Rating vs. Thickness

A thicker liner is stronger than a thinner one, right? Wrong. This rule applied in years past, but not today. The technology in plastic resins has evolved, resulting in a strong, flexible film that is light in gauge. Thickness is no longer a measure of performance. In many cases, the film can be down-gauged to further eliminate unneeded plastic. Instead of referring to thickness, it is now generally accepted to use the terminology Light, Medium, Heavy, or Extra Heavy to describe liner strength.

Trash Can Liner Strength Rating Chart

Don’t let UBO bring you down. By determining the right resin, size, and strength for your can liner applications, you’ll be well on your way to lowering costs, as well as promoting good environmental stewardship.

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Kirsten DeHaai

Director of eCommerce Marketing at HP Products Corporation
Kirsten DeHaai is the Director of eCommerce Marketing for HP Products, a distributor of facility maintenance supplies throughout the Midwest. Kirsten has more than 8 years of experience in eCommerce development, brand management, online marketing and communications.