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What Size Trash Bag Do I Need?

OCT 12, 2022 • BY DAVID T. •

Finding The Right Gallon, Size, Thickness, and Color Trash Bag For Your Workplace.

A trash can is an essential part of any business, but picking out the right size bag for it can be tricky. When choosing what to use as your bags you need to consider several things: like how much space am I filling up with garbage, what type of garbage are you putting in the bag, and what type of plastic do I need to use? These and other factors may come into play when choosing the correct trash bag and these tips below should give you a starting point for making your decisions on what works best for your application easier.


There are several sizes of garbage cans you might have around your office or place of work. For example, the 23-gallon Slim Jim style trash can would be a common size and style that could be found in break rooms and or bathrooms. For this specific garbage can you would use a 40" x 46" size trash bag, This size bag will perfectly fit the garbage can style with an extra 4 inches hanging off each side for it all to fit inside properly and leave you with enough plastic to tie the ends together properly able to close the trash bag shut. The size also does not give you a lot of excess plastic which to good for the environment and for your pocketbook.


If you're looking for the best type of plastic to use based on your bagging application, this article will help you distinguish between the two types with examples of their intended use. There are two main types of plastic trash bags are made from; low-density linear polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density (HDPE). The pros of each type of plastic resin depend on which type or kind of garbage will end up inside the bags. Let's take a closer look at how each type of plastic performs depending on the type of garbage you will be putting inside the bags.


  • Excellent stretch properties making them highly resilient to puncture and tears.
  • Great choice for garbage with sharp and jagged edges.
  • Strength and stretch properties make them a wonderful multipurpose trash bag.


  • Economical choice for heavy, wet trash and soft refuse.
  • Vapor and moisture protections.
  • Smaller, lighter cases when compared to LLD trash bag cases, which translates to lower freight, storage, and warehousing costs.
  • More temperature resistant (-40 degrees to +212 degrees) than LLD trash Bags.
  • USDA and FDA approved for food use.


Trash receptacles usually have a gallon capacity or size printed on the bottom of it. The first number in our bag measurements is the width of the open end/top of the bag when it is laid flat. This would be half of the circumference. The next measurement is the length of the bag from top to bottom.


Example: a 38” x 58” bag will have a 76” (38” x 2) circumference and a top-to-bottom measure of 58”. Use these methods to determine the circumference of your trash container to see what trash bag would work best. Keep in mind that you can have a longer or taller trash bag than the trash can, but you do not want your bags to go shorter, as they will fall inside your container.

Math Formula For Round or Square Trash Can To Find The Correct Bag Size

  • Square Container Circumference: Circumference = sum of all four sides added together. Example 5”+12”+12”+5” = 34 inch circumference
  • Round Container Circumference: Circumference = diameter multiplied by 3.14. Example 12” diameter* 3.14 = 37.68 inch circumference
  • Bag Length: (round & square containers) add the height of the container, plus 4-5 inches for overhang.
23 Gallon and 33 Gallon Trash Can Fit
44 Gallon and 55 Gallon Trash Can Fit


There is nothing worse than removing a full trash can liner from a garbage can and having the bottom of the bag split open because of its weight. Which brings us to the last step in choosing the correct trash bag, how much weight does the bag need to hold? The strength of a garbage bag is determined by many factors such as the type of plastic it was manufactured with and the bag's mil or micron (its thickness). Another important factor in the strength of a garbage can liner is the type of seal used. The seal refers to the method used to seal the bottom of a trash can liner. There are three styles of trash bag seals.

  • Star Seal: By far the most common type of seal used by trash can liner manufacturers. Star seals are created by folding the bag's bottom several times and then sealing it. The benefits of this type of seal are eliminating leaks, allowing the bags to conform to round, rectangle, square, and any other shape garbage can, and preventing trash from bunching up in one area of the trash bag. All of the trash bags we offer have a star seal.


  • Flat Seal: These seals are created by sealing the bag's bottom edge making sure no length of the bag is not used. Flat seals generally are leakproof, but they do not conform well to different-shaped garbage cans.


  • Gusset Seal: These seals are created by taking both sides of the bottom edge of the bag tucked in forming a gusset on the bag. This seal type reinforces the gusseted outer edges with four layers of plastic while the middle of the bag has only two. Because of this discrepancy in strength trash bags with gusset seals tend to leak.
Styles of Trash Bag Seals

To help you get an idea of the maximum weight for common trash bag sizes we have put together the below handy chart that shows the maximum dry weight of a trash bag when you know the bag measurements (length and width) its thickness (mil’s) and gallon size (bag capacity).

Size MIL Thickness Gallon Load (Dry Weight)
 20" X 21"  .35 7 7 lbs.
 24" X 23"  .35 8-10 10 lbs.
 24" X 32"  .35 12-16 10 lbs.
 30" X 36"  .5 20-30 20 lbs.
 30" X 36"  .7 20-30 30 lbs.
 33" X 39"  .5 33 20 lbs.
 33" X 39" .65 33 40 lbs.
 36" X 58"  .7 55 40 lbs.
 38" X 58"  .7 60 30 lbs.
 38" X 58" .55 60 40 lbs.
 40" X 46"  .5 40-45 30 lbs.
 40" X 46"  .7 40-45 30 lbs.
 43" X 47"  .7 56 40 lbs.

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