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Understanding Can Liner Terminology

Resin: The basic raw material used in can liner manufacturing. The two basic types most commonly used are High Density and Linear Low Density

Gauge: The measure of a can liner's thickness. Usually expressed in mills or microns

Mil: A Thousandth of an inch. Linear Low Density can liners range from .30 to 6.0 mils. Convert a mil to a micron by multipling by 25.4

Micron: One millionth of a meter. High Density can liners can rage from 6-24 microns. Convert a micron to a mil by dividing by 25.4

Post-consumer: Material defined as waste material generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product, which can no longer be used for its intended purpose.

Post-industrial: Material defined as waste material that has been generate from a manufacturing process, and has not been introduced tinto the consumer market.

Understanding Can Liner bottom Seals

Following are the three most prevalent types of can liners bottom seals:

Flat Seal
  • Designated in two dimensions, i.e., 33x39.
  • A straight seal along the can liner's bottom edge.
  • Shape can be awkward to handle and not conform well to the container.
  • Although strong, they are capable of leaking from corners.
Gusset Seal
  • Designated in three dimensions, i.e., 23x10x39.
  • A flat-style seal with the bottom corners tucked in to form gussets.
  • Capable of leaking from the center at gusset points where four layers of film meet two.
Star Seal
  • Designated in two dimensions, i.e.e, 33x39.
  • Most leak-resistant seal on the market.
  • Created by folding the linder bottom over several times, then sealing it.
  • Conforms better to container shapes and eliminates gaps long the seal where leaks can occur.
  • Maximizes carrying capacity by distributing refuse evenly around the bag.

Helpful Formulas:

How to figure case weights:

Linear Low:

Length x Width x Mil / 15 / 1,000 x Case Pack = Net Case Weight

High Density:

Length x Width x Mic / 25.4 / 1,000 x Case Pack = Net Case Weight

Packaging Styles

  • Simplifies inventory control, distribution and accountability.
  • Single rolls can be stored in multiple locations for convenient access.
  • Inventory is easy to monitory, assisting with theft prevention.
  • Open end of the bag is always dispensed first for labor efficiency.
  • Single, folded bags can be dispensed either from the carton or stored in multiple locations.
  • Bags can still be accessed, even with cartons are stacked.
  • Outdated method of packaing consiting of several bags overlapped and placed into a case in no particular order.
  • Overlapping bags make single bad dispensing difficult.
  • Inventory control, distribution and accountability is very difficult.
  • Similar to a roll of paper towels, cored rolls can liners are rolled together on cardbord cylinders.
  • Cartons are specially designed for cored rolls to dispense from within.
  • Cored rolls can be mounted and dispensed from outside the carton.
  • Ideal packing style for larger bags.

Step by Step Guide to Finding the Perfect Liner

1. Determine the correct can liner size:

One of the most common mistakes in selling can liners, is selling a liner that does not properly fit the receptacle. A liner that falls inside the receptacle is too small, while a liner that has to be knotted at the top of the receptacle is too big. Selling a liner that is too big or too small for the container, opens the door for a competitor to take your business with a properly fitted product. A properly fitted liner has between three to five inches hanging over the top of the container

Often, receptacles have the gallon capacity printed or moleded on them. If you cannot find the gallon capacity on the receptavle, you can use the folllowing formula to determine the correct size can liner.

Width: To calculate the proper width of the ca liner for ytour container, divide the circumference of the container by 2.

Square Circumference: Sum of all 4 sides.

Round circumference: Diameter multiplied by 3.14.

Length: For round or square containers, add 4-5 inches (for overhang) to the height of the container.

Size Calculator

2. Determine the Correct Resin Type

Resin is the basic raw material used in the manufacturing of plastic bags. The two most commonly used resins in manufacturing plastic can liners are Linear Low Density and High Density.


Film Characteristics:
  • Best product choice for disposal of waste with sharp or jagged edges
  • Excellent film stretch properties maximizes tear resistance and minimizes punctures
  • Available in flat or star seal bottom
  • Packaged in interleaved coreless rolls or individually folded
Idea Product For:
  • Building Maintenance
  • Industrial Applications
  • Educational Institutions
  • Food service areas with high a percentage of sharp objects
  • Outdoor receptacles, Public Parks and Recreational Areas



Film Characteristics:
  • Thinner gauges are more cost effective and contribut less plastic to the environment
  • Star seal bottom
  • Packaged in coreless mini rolls
  • Limited film stretch, puncture and tear resistance / Not ideal for disposal of sharp objects
Idea Product For:
  • Office buildings and restrooms
  • Lodging and healthcare, linen collection and guest room trash
  • Grocery and convenience
  • Food service areas with high percentage of paper or wet, bulky trash
  • Packaging and food storage (clear bags)

3. Determine the Required Bag Strength

Can liners are available in many different gauges (film thickness), which determine the can liner’s strength. Generally, the thicker the gauge, the more weight the can liner can hold.

The cost of a can liner increases as the bags’ gauge gets thicker, therefore, the goal is to sell the thinnest bag possible that can perform for the application without failing. To simplify this process, NAPCO publishes the maximum dry load (weight) capacity of each bag. This allows you to simply determine the average weight of the waste going into the liner, and then find the closest max dry load corresponding to that weight.

4. Determine the Color

Can liner color is often a matter of personal preference, although, as indicated below, it can also serve a purpose.

Opaque Colors:

 Black, Gray, Silver, Yellow (Applications where trash needs to be concealed)

White (Helps to convey a sanitary appearance and atmosphere)


 Clear, Natural (Applications where trash needs to be monitored, such as theft prevention, sorting recycled material, and linen collection)

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