Trash bags are a necessity in any home or business because they make the waste disposal easy and clean. These bags can be found in different sizes to suit a wide range of requirements. There is a trash bag that will work with any size trash can, from the one in your kitchen to the one in your garage.
Popular trash bag sizes include 13 gallons, 33 gallons, and 55 gallons. Some manufacturers also make custom sizes to fit specific trash cans, including small bags for kitchen or bathroom trash cans, medium-sized bags for bedrooms or home offices, and large bags for outdoor or commercial use.
In this guide, I’ll cover the basics of trash bags, what sizes they come in, and whether trash bag shapes matter.
What Is a Trash Bag?
The humble trash bag, often overlooked and taken for granted, is a true unsung hero in the battle against clutter and filth. From the smallest kitchen scraps to the largest piles of debris, these convenient and versatile bags are up to the task of corralling even the unruliest of waste. The creation of the trash bag has revolutionized the way we keep our homes and communities clean, making disposal of waste a simple and efficient process.
Before trash cans and bags were invented, colonists in the Americas had to resort to less hygienic methods of disposing of their garbage, such as burying it, burning it, or simply throwing it across the street, where pigs would inevitably find it.
After World War II, Winnipeg inventor Harry Wasylyk was tinkering with polyethylene, a new waterproof, stretchy material. In 1950, Wasylyk invented the plastic trash bag in his kitchen and supplied the bags that were used to line the trash cans at Winnipeg General Hospital.
In the 1960s, different-sized trash bags hit the market, marking the beginning of their widespread use. Trash bags today come in many shapes and sizes and can be purchased in a wide range of materials (including bioplastics) to suit a wide variety of trashes and bins.
Trash Bag Sizes
Today, you can find trash bags in nearly any size. Let’s take a look at the most common trash bag sizes.
- 3-4 gallons— Trash from the bathroom or kitchen can be contained in these small bags, which also fit in standard-sized bins. In addition, they are helpful for storing napkins used for cleaning minor spills and messes.
- 8-10 gallons— These average-sized trash receptacles are a standard fixture in bedrooms, home offices, and other compact spaces. They are adaptable for use as compact outdoor waste containers.
- 13-15 gallons— These bags are widely used in homes because they are convenient and can be placed in most regular trash bins. In addition, they are suitable for use as miniature outdoor garbage containers.
- 20 gallons— These bags fit into larger outdoor trash receptacles and are useful for storing cleaning materials used for picking up large spills and messes.
- 33-39 gallons— Trash from businesses and factories often gets put in these extra-large bags, or they get placed in outdoor trash receptacles.
- 45-55 gallons— These extra-large bags are typically reserved for waste that is either particularly heavy or particularly bulky, such as debris from construction sites or yard waste.
- 60-96 gallons— The use of these enormous bags is common in the process of removing waste on a large scale, such as when cleaning out a warehouse or an entire house.
Trash Bag Shapes
Trash bags can be found in many different forms, including the following:
- Rectangular— This is the most common shape of the trash bag, and it is most often found in trash cans located in kitchens and bathrooms. They are simple to secure and then thrown away after use.
- Star-sealed— The bottoms of these bags are shaped like stars, which not only helps create a more secure seal but also helps prevent leaks. They are frequently used in business or manufacturing environments.
- Drawstring— These bags come equipped with a drawstring closure, which makes it simple to close them off and throw them away after use. It is common to put them in garbage cans located in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Twist-tie— These bags come with an integrated twist-tie closure, which makes it simple to close them off and throw them away after use. They are most frequently found in trash cans located in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Handles— Some bags already have handles attached to them, making them more convenient to carry and throw away. They are useful for waste in the open air or in commercial settings.
- Compactor bags— These bags have been developed specifically for use in trash compactors. As a result, the material that they are made of is typically more robust and thicker so that it can withstand the pressure and weight of compacting waste.
How Thick Is a Trash Bag?
A trash bag’s thickness, also known as its gauge, is expressed in millimeters. Garbage bags are available in a range of thicknesses, but the most common are between 1.2 and 3 mils. Bags with greater thickness are more resistant to puncturing and tearing in general. However, the thicker the bag, the more it will cost, and not all garbage requires it.
Trash bags can range in thickness from 1.2 mils for light waste like paper and food scraps to 3 mils for heavy waste like construction debris and yard waste. Commercial and industrial trash bags, for example, can be 4 mils or more in thickness. When deciding on a trash bag’s thickness, it’s vital to think about both its intended function and the waste it will contain.
Which Trash Bag Size Do You Need?
Picking the right trash bag size is crucial for using the can efficiently. Here are a few things to think about when picking out a garbage bag size:
- The size of the trash can— Pick a bag that will fit the can’s exact specifications by measuring its interior dimensions.
- The volume of waste— Think about the volume of trash that will accumulate over a certain time period, and pick a bag accordingly.
- The type of waste— Larger bags with a thicker gauge may be needed to contain waste that is particularly heavy or bulky.
- The intended use— A larger bag with a thicker gauge may be needed if the trash bag will be used for commercial or industrial waste.