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Can Liner Guide

Choosing trash can liners may seem as simple as finding ones that will fit your trash can. However, there are a handful of terms with which you should become familiar, ensuring that your can liner selection will provide the best result at the best price!


Hercules & Li'l Herc Trash Bags

Resin is the basic raw material used in manufacturing trash can liners. The two basic types of resins utilized in trash can liner manufacturing are high density and low density.

  • High Density Can Liners: Great for paper and lightweight trash; tears easier if punctured.
    • Excellent choice for offices or bathrooms, as long as no sharp or irregularly-shaped objects are being discarded.
    • Lighter construction means lower freight, storage, and warehousing costs.
    • Superior vapor and moisture protection; USDA and FDA approved for food use to help contain unpleasant odors.
    • Temperature-resistant from -40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hercules Contractor Trash Bag 55-60 Gallon 3 Mil 38 inch x 58 inch Low Density Can Liner - 50/Case
  • Low Density Can Liners: Great for heavy, wet trash; provide exceptional resistance against puncturing and tearing.
    • Excellent choice for kitchens, yard waste and other trash with sharp, jagged edges.
    • Superior stretch properties make for a great multi-purpose can liner.
      • Our Hercules industrial can liners are extra heavy low density can liners, offering the same benefits as low density liners with even greater thickness for heavy duty kitchen, yard waste and construction use!

Expert Tip
We offer a select number of linear low density liners which provide the same superior stretch benefits as standard low density liners. But because of differences in the manufacturing process, linear low density is able to achieve greater strength at a thinner gauge.


Seal is a term used to describe the bottom of a trash can liner. Seals come in three types: star, flat, and gusset.

  • Star Seal: The most common seal in the industry, star seals are manufactured by folding the bottom of the trash can liner over several times and then sealing it. This virtually eliminates leaks, allowing the liner to conform to the shape of the trash can and distribute the refuse evenly around the bag.

  • Flat Seal: Manufactured by simply sealing the bottom edge so that no length of the can liner is sacrificed, flat seals provide a generally leak-proof product. They do not, however, conform well to the waste receptacle and can be difficult to handle.

  • Gusset Seal: Manufactured with both sides of the bottom edge tucked in to form gussets, gusset seals are reinforced at the indented outer edges with four layers of film while the middle of the bag is sealed with two layers. This causes a tendency to leak with wet trash.

So How Do I Choose The Right Can Liner?

When choosing a trash can liner, ask yourself three simple questions:

  1. Will sharp objects or heavy, wet trash be disposed of in these liners?
  2. What trash bag sizes do I need?

    Trash bags are measured by their length and width when laid flat--the first measurement in the title of our cans is the width, and the second is the length. To determine what size bag is needed for your particular waste receptacle:

    • Bag Length = Height of your can plus 3" for overhang
    • Bag Width = Circumference of your can divided by 2
      • Square Container Circumference = Sum of all four sides added together
      • Round Container Circumference = Diameter multiplied by 3.14 (or pi, if you channel your middle school math teacher)
  3. How much weight will these liners need to hold?

    • Simply estimate the average weight of a full trash can liner in your application, match it to the max load capacity listed in the description for each liner that meets your needs from the previous two questions, and you've got the bag that's right for you!
    Expert Tip
    We also have specialty trash can liners for more unique needs and applications! These include translucent recycling bags that make it easy to see if non-recyclable materials are mixed in, medical waste bags with the universal biohazard symbol for easy identification, and compostable bags that are an excellent choice as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional bags and perfect for disposing of yardwaste and other compostable materials.

Recommended Liners

Low Density
High Density
Hercules Contractor Trash Bag 55-60 Gallon 3 Mil 38 inch x 58 inch Low Density Can Liner - 50/Case
Hercules Bags are your source for super tough, extremely elastic, puncture-resistant trash bags, perfect for use in bars, kitchens, and at catered events. They're great for use in both inside and outside applications! Hercules Bags' superior value just can't be beat when compared to more expensive contractor bags found in stores.
33 Gallon 16 Micron 33 inch x 40 inch Olympian High Density Can Liner / Trash Bag - 250/Case
Olympian trash can liners / trash bags provide products with industry-leading strength. Their exclusive resin construction promotes puncture resistance, while their star sealed construction helps to eliminate messes and spills. With state-of-the-art technology and high-quality production, Olympian has products which are great for a variety of venues, from restaurants, to caterers, to hotels.
Li'l Herc Repro Trash Bag 33 Gallon 1.5 Mil 33 inch x 39 inch Low Density Can Liner - 100/Case
Go green while saving green with Li'l Herc Repro trash bags. These low density garbage bags are made of recycled plastics and resins, offering a more stretchable option than their big brother, Hercules Bags, while maintaining superior resistance to puncturing and tearing. Li'l Herc Repro trash bags are the economical solution for garbage disposal at bars, kitchens, and at catered events.

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