The Versatility of Bin Liners

Bin liners are an amazing and versatile product to have on hand. I would even go so far as to call them a tool. I call them a tool because when I have something that needs a solution, I sometimes go to bin liners. Allow me to explain. I was cleaning out my garage the other day and I came across an old roll of bin liners. That’s right, I said roll. This is because bin liners conveniently come on a roll, just like garbage bags do. Only bin liners are quite a bit bigger, and they are gusseted.

rubbish_bin_liners_400x600At there are close to a hundred sizes. That’s not an exaggeration, either. At least there are fifty. If I counted them all I would probably wind up somewhere in the middle, like eighty, but that doesn’t seem like a productive way to be spending my time. Feel free to do so, and let me know the exact number if you want. But the point is that the smallest size is thirty-six inches by twenty-eight inches by sixty inches. That’s right, this is the smallest size. Three feet by five feet. That’s pretty big, with over two feet in width. Remember how I said that bin liners are gusseted? That means they have a width. Normal garbage bags are just two flat pieces of plastic bound at the sides, and open at one end. It is flat.

At the sides of the bin liners an extra piece of fabric is sown in so that the liner gets wider as it goes down to the bottom, so that entire bottom space of the bin can be used to maximum capacity. This is a handy trick indeed. Back to the sizes… The largest size is fifty-eight inches by forty-six inches by one hundred twenty-five inches. That’s over five and a half feet by ten feet! I mean, not to give anyone some crazy ideas, but you could fit some pretty huge stuff in there. Like probably even a tiger.

If I wanted to secretly ship a tiger somewhere I could imagine myself using the hugest bin liner, in the hugest bin. Cut some holes in there, toss in a few slabs of frozen meat, and that tiger should arrive at his destination with no problems (and without ruining the bin, thanks to the liner!). You may not find yourself wanting to ship a tiger, but you could probably find something else.

The Origin of Cardboard Shipping Boxes

It seemed right to begin a discussion about cardboard shipping boxes by talking about the history of cardboard a little bit. Namely: where does cardboard come from? First of all, cardboard is more or less a general term for some heavy-duty paper. After all, paper towel rolls are still cardboard but they are much thinner and not as strong as something like cardboard shipping boxes.

Wouldn’t you know it, but cardboard first starts out as wood! Unless, of course, we are talking about cardboard made from other recycled cardboard, but when the first cardboard was made it was made of wood. That’s right, trees chipped and then broken down with chemicals into fibers. These fibers then get washed to get rid of the chemicals, and it goes through a series of machines that bleaches it, mixes it, and cuts it up to make a pulp. From there is goes into a machine that converts into a mat of paper.

Cardboard Shipping Boxes

This mat goes through steam rollers that squeeze out any excess water and dry it at the same time, also making sure that it is smooth and even. The drying process is finished, and there is now paper! This paper is then used to make different kinds of cardboard. Cardstock is made by gluing several layers together. If cardboard shipping boxes are being made, then these sheets of cardstock run through a machine that gives it a rippled texture. This is called ‘corrugated’. This is what you see in between the flat cardboard, which is exactly what happens. The newly corrugated sheet is glued in between cardstock and then cut to size. Then people get to have their logo printed it, and all that good stuff.

Wherever you are sitting, take a quick look around and try to see how much cardboard is near you. Okay, for me, I’m seeing a paper towel roll (which is still inside the paper towel but probably not for long, once my kids get up). I see some hardcover textbooks on the desk next to me, which might have some glossy printed pictures on them but underneath that shiny paper is surely cardboard.

Can’t forget the box in the corner, that my brother and sister-in-law shipped massive quantities of Halloween candy in. It’s the first thing my kids ask for every single morning (thanks, guys). Cardboard is everywhere, and even places that aren’t obvious.

Bin Liners and Dimensions

When going to buy bin liners it is crucial to know the size of the box. Perhaps that just seems obvious, but there is a reason to this ridiculous suggestion. Bin liners consist of a width and a depth and a length. When calculating what size liner you will need you need to know the width and depth of the box, and then add one inch to each for the liner.

Also, the length of the bag must consist of the height of the box, plus the depth of the box, plus six more inches to make sure that everything in the box will be covered effectively. As you can see, simply guessing at what size might work isn’t really a great way to go. I am not a math person, otherwise I might attempt to walk you through the process, but in the end I fear you would up with something grossly off the mark.

white-bin-liners_PDT05737I have talked before about gussets and about how the bin liners from are gusseted (well, I’m sure all of them are, but I’m focused on one resource). I explained how gussets are extra pieces of material sewn in to expand the item, and this is why we now have pants and bin liners and stuff like that. Well, I didn’t get a chance to mention where gussets come from. It’s really quite fascinating, you see. It comes from an Old French word for “armpit” (did you have any doubt that it would be an old word?).

More specifically it describes a piece of armor used for the armpit. So it was originally a term used when referring to armor, and then apparently the idea caught on and they began using gussets in clothing around the mid fifteen-hundreds. I don’t know why they waited so long, but I’m glad they finally decided to incorporate them in the everyday person’s wardrobe. We can’t all wear armor just for the sake of the gussets.

I thought all of that was very interesting. It’s fascinating that what was once used to describe armor amongst French people, hundreds of years ago at that, is now a term that I am explaining to you in regards to bin liners. The even crazier thing: it’s still doing the same job!

Once again, just as a friendly reminder, when trying to figure out what size liner to purchase, make sure you know how big the box is. You don’t want everything to fit nicely and then you discover that when you try to tie the bag there is a huge ginormous gap which essentially defeats the purpose of protecting the product.


Clear Packaging Tape

What good is clear packaging tape? Well, I’ll tell you. When you get it at you are getting quality carton sealing tape at discounted prices, just like the website says! Currently, it’s even on sale. This is a good product to have when you want your packaging jobs to look clean and professional. Of course other kinds of tape would do the job as well, but sometimes we just need to make a better impression.


It’s one thing to throw some duct tape on an old diaper box and send it off to your mother-in-law, but when you are trying to mail a company product you wouldn’t want to take the same approach. This is where clear packaging tape comes into play. At there are four different strengths to buy, from light duty to heavy duty. You can get the rolls in two inch widths, or three inch.

So there’s clear packaging tape, and then there’s ultra clear packaging tape. Perhaps this just seems a little obnoxious, and maybe even like a marketing ploy. But the ultra clear stuff really is ultra clear: you can see right down to the cardboard core. Now that’s something you can’t do with plain old clear. The ultra clear is perfect for covering mailing labels, or labels of any kind.

I’m going to tell you a little secret. I’ve used the ultra clear packaging tape to laminate. When my son was a toddler I printed out the letters of the alphabet, numbers, shapes and colors, sight words, and animals. I laid out super long strips of the tape, cut out the pictures and placed them on the tape, and then laid another strip of tape over them. I simply cut in between the pictures, did a little bit of trimming, and voila, I had some laminated, pictures!

Then I did one better by hot-gluing a little magnet to the back of each one and suddenly my son would be busy for the entire time I was cooking dinner. You can’t pay enough to get that kind of peace, let me tell you. I’ve even considered making up little baggies of these laminated, magnet pictures and selling them at craft fairs. People overcharge homemade stuff so much that I’m sure I could wind up walking away with some decent compensation. The best part is that no one would even know I had used clear packaging tape!