Trash Can Liner Selection Guide

1. Choose a bag size and bottom seal that matches the type of trash can being used


2. Choose your Trash Can Liner's Material

There are three types of plastic used in can liners: High-Density (HD), Linear Low-Density (LLD), and Reprocessed.

  • High density liners are lower in cost than low density liners.
  • Recycled plastic or repro liners yield a bag with a lower capacity for weight at a lower cost. A thicker repro liner is needed to lift the same amount of static weight as a virgin resin bag.

High-Density (HD) Plastic

High-Density plastic makes a “crinkly” noise when you move it – like a supermarket bag. HD plastic is also harder to start or puncture a hole in than Linear Low-Density (LLD). Once a hole is started in HD plastic, it will spread quickly or “zipper”. While High-Density can liners are thinner than Low-Density can liners, HD plastic can hold the same or greater weight. The thickness of this type of plastic is measured in Microns. This type of plastic can liner is best suited for cans without edges, paper, food, and smooth heavy objects. High-Density can liners offer substantial cost savings on a per-liner basis.

Linear Low-Density (LLD) Plastic

Linear Low-Density plastic can liners are quiet when moved, without a “crinkly” sound. It is easier to start or puncture a hole into than High-Density, but a hole with spread less quickly. The thickness of LLD plastic is measured in Millimeters. This plastic type is the most common. It has multiple uses and is recommended for sharper objects and tough transport conditions.


Repro plastic is reprocessed or made from recycled material. According to the EPA, 10-100% of the plastic is post-consumer recycled content. Reprocessed plastic can liners have a lower capacity for weight, but are also cheaper. Thicker reprocessed plastic can liners are needed to list the same amount of weight as a virgin resin bag (compared to the other types of plastics).

3. Pick your Can Liner's Seal Type

Harmony recommends a Star Seal bottom seal for can liners. This "bunched up" and star-shape appearance conforms well to large, round trash cans. Most importantly, star seals are not likely to leak. With these benefits, Star Seal Can Liners are the highest quality bottom seal type.

Gusset and Flat Seals are other types of can liners but do not offer the benefits of a star seal. Trash cans of unique sizes may benefit from other seal types, but for most applications, a star seal is ideal.

  • Some manufacturers will state liner sizes in “gallons” in an attempt to offer smaller liners that use less plastic.
  • Star sealed can liners are the most expensive and highest quality since they conform better to larger, round trash cans.
  • Gusset sealed bags are the least expensive and will tend to leak, unlike star seal or flat seal.

Gauge Strength Key

Light For crumbled papers, cups, light waste, etc.
Medium For packaging waste, wet paper, etc.
Heavy For light wood, metal scraps, wet cardboard, etc.
Extra Heavy For heavy, sharp, or wet trash.
Super/Extra Heavy For heaviest cleanup jobs in warehouse, cafeteria, or facility ground.