Waste Bags and Sacks


picture of waste bags picture of waste bags2

Waste bags and sacks are flexible material bags used for lining litter or waste containers or bins. This serves to keep the container sanitary by avoiding container contact with the rubbish. After the bag in the container is filled with litter, the bag can be conveniently pulled out by its edges, closed, and tied...

They are widely used for collection, storage, disposal and handling of different waste stream such as clinical, recycling, domestic, hospital, kitchen waste etc. Most bags nowadays are made out of plastic. Waste bags are also known as garbage bags, rubbish bags, refuse sacks, bin liners and can liners etc.

History of Waste (Garbage) Bags

The familiar green plastic garbage bag (made from polyethylene) was invented in 1950 by Harry Wasylyk, a Canadian inventor from Winnipeg, Manitoba who, together with Larry Hansen of Lindsay, Ontario, invented the disposable green polyethylene garbage bag.

Garbage bags were first intended for commercial use rather than home use - the bags were first sold to the Winnipeg General Hospital. However, Hansen worked for the Union Carbide Company in Lindsay, who bought the invention from Wasylyk and Hansen. Union Carbide manufactured the first green garbage bags under the name Glad Garbage Bags for home use in the late 1960s.

Reference: https://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blGarbageBag.htm

How Garbage Bags are made

Garbage bags are made from low density polyethylene, which was invented in 1942. Low density polyethylene is soft, stretchy, and water and air proof. Polyethylene is delivered in the form of small resin pellets or beads. By a process called extrusion, the hard beads are converted into bags of plastic.

The hard polyethylene beads are heated to a temperature of 200 degrees centigrade. The molten polyethylene is put under high pressure and mixed with agents that provide colour and make the plastic pliable. The prepared plastic polyethylene is blown into one long tube of bagging, which is then cooled, collapsed, cut to the right individual length, and sealed on one end to make a garbage bag.

Reference: https://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blGarbageBag.htm

Variety of different names for Waste Bags and Sacks

  • Garbage bags
  • Rubbish bags
  • Refuse sacks
  • Bin liners
  • Can liners

Major UK Suppliers

Product Specification

Common materials used for Waste bags and Sacks:

  • Low density polythene (LDPE)
  • Medium density polythene (MDPE)
  • High density polythene (HDPE)
  • Liner blend polythene
  • Recycled polythene
  • Metallocene polythene (mPE)
  • Paper
  • Degradable polythene
  • Biodegradable polythene
  • Woven Polypropylene

Available Thickness

80 gauge (20 microns) to 1000 gauge (250 microns)


Normally, clear Polythene bags in Great Britain should follow widely accepted industrial standards according to British Standard - see BS7344, 1990

  • Width: Plus or minus 3mm (0.125") or 2%, whichever is greater
  • Length: Plus or minus 6mm (0.25") or 2%, whichever is greater
  • Gauge: Plus or minus 10%

Standards for bin liners (waste liners) to use for food contact (to hold paints, inks, powders and food items) and medical applications:

Food Contact - To use bin liners inside the European Union, in contact with food should comply with the relevant legislation on food contact including Great Britain.

  • Great Britain: Statutory Instrument, 1998 No. 1376 and BPF-BIBRA (1995), Polymer Specification 4, Polyethylene
  • EU: Commission Directive 90/128/EEC, 92/39/EEC, 93/9/EEC, 95/3/EEC and 96/11/EC, Section A.
  • Example of a company comply with food contact: Polybags Limited

Medical use - Similarly, to use bin liners inside the European Union, to produce containers for preparations for medico-pharmaceutical purposes should comply with the following regulation:

  • European Pharmacopoeia - Monograph 3.1.3 "Polyolefin's" for medico-pharmaceutical purposes.
  • The final responsibility for the decision of whether a material is fit for a particular application lies with the pharmaceutical firm.
  • Example of a company comply with medical use: Polybags Limited

Options for Waste Bags and Sacks


  • Low density polythene (LDPE)
  • Medium density polythene (MDPE)
  • High density polythene (HDPE)
  • Liner blend polythene
  • Recycled polythene
  • Metallocene polythene (mPE)
  • Paper
  • Degradable polythene
  • Biodegradable polythene
  • Woven Polypropylene
  • Co-extruded plastic bags


  • Flat packed in convenient dispenser box
  • Flat packed in standard box
  • Bags on roll with perforation for easy tear off
  • Bags without drawstring
  • Bags with drawstring


  • Light / tint coloured: easy to route the bags according to the colour e.g. green for recycling, yellow for clinical waste etc.
  • Opaque coloured: easy for waste segregation
  • Clear: enables contents of the bags to be seen

Plain or printed waste bags and sacks

  • Plain
  • Printed in one colour
  • Printed in two colours
  • Printed in three colours

Strength options according to application

  • Standard strength: General purpose use for light to medium trash loads
  • Medium strength: for paper and void fill
  • Heavy strength: for boxes, wood and heavier scraps
  • Extra heavy strength: for your highest warehouse trash
  • Black refuse sack range: These bags are slightly larger than the garbage bags. They are also used to collect garbage. A medium density blend gives great puncture resistance despite being much thinner and so much cheaper for you!
  • Refuse, dustbin and wheelie bin sacks: These bags are used with garbage bins for collection of garbage. Sturdy and strong, they are available in black, blue, grey, green and white. Enables instant identification of bag contents. Leak-proof: protects against messy spills. Waste bins stay clean and sanitary.
  • Extra strong aggregate sacks: The heavy duty household rubbish bag and the ultimate tough aggregate sack guaranteed to hold 40kg. Ideal for bagging builders rubble, gravel, sand, soil etc. Extremely strong: hard-wearing and puncture resistant, can be used many times.
  • Pedal, square and swing bin liner: Liners for every shape of bin. Normally in a thin white material but also now in a clear bag for contents identification.
  • Special waste sacks: Specialist bags for recycled and hazardous materials. Gardeners use the green recycling sack and the wheelie bin liner. Also includes extra thick asbestos and clinical waste sacks pre-printed with the correct statutory information.
  • Biodegradable waste sacks: Ideal to help towards a better environment. Biodegradable waste sacks will biodegrade in your compost or in landfill.
  • Clear waste bags: Medium to Strong clear polythene bags that enable instant identification of contents. Ideal for separating products or materials for recycling.

Select the right material for your Waste Bags and Sacks

  1. HDPE (high density polythene) garbage can liners are a strong, thin, material that is frosted in appearance. This material has excellent tensile strength but is punctured by sharp object easier than other materials. It is ideal for use in environments where sharp corners are not a large part of the refuse going into the garbage can liner. The smaller sizes are ideal for office use. The larger sizes, which have increased thickness as compared to the smaller sizes, are great for heavy loads that don't have many sharp objects.
  2. LLDPE (liner low density polythene) can liners are typically thicker than HDPE and they offer good tensile strength, but less than HDPE, as well as better puncture resistance when compared to HDPE. This material also has a softer feel than HDPE. LLDPE is also ideal for office trash cans. This material is also an economical choice for larger garbage containers with refuse that has some sharp corners but is not extremely heavy.
  3. LDPE (low density polythene) material has been the standard for all plastic bags since the beginning of the plastic bag industry. It is generally thicker and softer in feel than LLDPE. It has good puncture resistance but also has less tensile strength than LLDPE. For this reason, LDPE trash can liners are usually made to be much thicker than the other types of poly material and is also usually made from recycled plastic. Because of the thickness, this material can be an excellent choice for heavy duty applications.
  4. Biodegradable waste sacks: Ideal to help towards a better environment. Biodegradable waste sacks will biodegrade in your compost or in landfill.

Common area of application for Waste Bags and Sacks

  • Garden sacks
  • Rubble sacks in building applications
  • Shop
  • Office
  • Domestic
  • Industrial
  • Clinical
  • Hospitals
  • Recycling

Advantages of Waste Bags

  • Low cost
  • Leak-proof
  • Keeps waste bin clean
  • Lightweight and Portable
  • Hygienic - Use a tie, strong or just knot to prevent the content spillage / leakage
  • Reduces clean-up time in office, home, industry etc.
  • Convenient and hygienic.
  • Printed and colour-coded bags offers easy waste segregation
  • Clear liners / sacks enable instant identification of contents
  • Strong and durable
  • Offers resistant to water and weather
  • Can be recycled
  • Meets FDA and USDA specifications.
  • Also available as degradable, biodegradable and compostable

Common sizes

Creative Idea - Turn your waste bags into fashion, Check!

Couple turn waste bags into fashion

A couple in India have found a solution to the problem of plastic bags littering the streets of the country's capital, Delhi - by turning them into fashionable handbags.

Anita and Shaleb Ahuja employ people in the slum areas of the city to collect the bags, which are a major problem throughout the country - often ending up polluting the environment, littering streets and blocking drains.

The discarded bags are washed and sorted before being turned into plastic sheets, which are then refashioned into the handbags.

"We were already into waste management, and we were getting a lot of plastic waste," Mrs. Ahuja told BBC World Service's Outlook programme, "That's when we decided to try and find a solution to this big problem.

Mrs. Ahuja and her husband established a non-governmental organisation called Conserve to launch their idea, using their life savings to set it up. Plastic bags are such a problem in India that one state, Himachal Pradesh, has even banned them outright. In Delhi, however, Conserve employs rag pickers to scour the city's waste dumps.

Some women snip at the handles of the bags to make them into sheets; others wash them in water and detergent and hang them on a clothes line. These are then moulded together into single sheets of thick, durable plastic, and stitched into bright, colourful handbags.

Mrs. Ahuja said the idea came by accident, when a friend making fabric bags asked for a few sheets of the plastic, and designed the first bag. "I showed it to my friends, and they liked it very much," she said, "That was the time that it struck me that it had potential". It has now become a highly successful enterprise, employing 300 people and with a turnover of around $150,000. "Lots of women come to me and say they also want to work here," said Gita Pande, one of the Conserve workers, "I don't want to travel out of a slum to work I feel safe here, so I don't mind working here. I'm also doing something that's useful. Polythene bags clog our drains. Cows eat them and get choked. By making them into bags, they get used, and unemployed people get jobs. I feel it's good for the municipality as well, because we are taking the garbage off the streets, and they don't have to clean them."

The Ahujas are now trying to convince the Indian Ministry of Culture to recognise what they are doing as a craft. However Mr. Ahuja explained that they are not having much success. "They say that if it's not 500 years old, it's not a craft," he said, "It is absolutely frustrating."

Reference: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4670612.stm

The Prophet of Garbage

Joseph Longo's Plasma Converter turns our most vile and toxic trash into clean energy-and promises to make a relic of the landfill.

It sounds as if someone just dropped a tricycle into a meat grinder. I'm sitting inside a narrow conference room at a research facility in Bristol, Connecticut, chatting with Joseph Longo, the founder and CEO of Startech Environmental Corporation. As we munch on takeout Subway sandwiches, a plate-glass window is the only thing separating us from the adjacent lab, which contains a glowing caldera of 'plasma' three times as hot as the surface of the sun. Every few minutes there's a horrific clanking noise'grinding followed by a thunderous voomp, like the sound a gas barbecue makes when it first ignites. 'Is it supposed to do that?' I ask Longo nervously. 'Yup,' he says. 'That's normal.'

Reference: https://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2007-03/prophet-garbage