Strong Trash Bags: How Much Weight Can They Hold?

Strong Trash Bags


With the amount of varied waste we dispose of each week or even day, it’s important to understand how much we can put into a trash bag before it breaks and how heavy duty bags differ from standard bags.

Trash bags can hold a range of items and weights depending on their size, for example a strong 56-gallon trash bag can hold up to 40 pounds of dry weight, whereas a 10 gallon can hold up to 10 pounds without breaking. The important thing to note is the weight is usually based on dry items not wet or liquid and heavy duty or tough bags usually are thicker and can hold more weight.


How Much Weight Can A Standard Garbage Bag Hold?

Understanding the capacity of your trash bag is important – as anyone who has broken or spilled the contents of a leaky, heavy bag before! With so many different sizes and usage for trash bags, it’s key to know how much your bag can hold. Again, these weights are based on dry garbage not wet or liquid which can degrade the bag.

Some guides are below:

  • A standard 10 gallon bag can hold up to around 10 pounds
  • A 13 gallon trash bag can hold up to 15 pounds
  • A 56 gallon trash bag can hold around 40 pounds.
  • The super tough bags can often hold the same or more but also for longer.

Many groups have conducted their own experiments with different brands and types of bags. Consumer Reports tested 10 different kitchen bags from the big brands on the market and tested the weight capacity with a special contraption. Once they loaded the bag with weight, they lifted the bag higher and higher to see if they would break. 

  • Glad bag stretched but didn’t break, holding 50 pounds.
  • Member’s Mark bag broke with 35 pounds of weight.
  • The winners were Hefty The Gripper and Glad bags.
  • General consensus was that if you don’t load your bag with a lot of heavy garbage, any bag is fine.

Read the experiment here: 

You can read more about the different size trash bags in this article.



What Can Trash Bags Be Made From?

Many trash bags are made from traditional plastic, like a lot of bags and products in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, plastic contributes to landfill and other environmental issues and it will not break down for decades to thousands of years.

The standard plastic trash bags are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). LLDPE is the strongest of the three plastics as HDPE is prone to tears. LDPE is not used as commonly for trash bags anymore as LLDPE is stronger.

However, nowadays, you can also find biodegradable and compostable plastic trash bags, made from renewable ingredients such as corn, cellulose, plant starch and other natural materials. These are able to either break down rapidly in a landfill environment (biodegradable) or break down completely into natural matter when composted (compostable).

Traditional plastic contributes to many environmental issues such as:

  • Landfill contributions.
  • Toxic leaching into the environment (soil, water).
  • Can be toxic for wildlife, animals and humans (at some levels, depending on the plastic).
  • Uses raw materials such as crude oil which are not good for the environment.
  • Use higher levels of energy and water for manufacturing.
  • Releases greenhouse emissions into the environment during manufacturing.

Many traditional plastics cannot be recycled and contribute to not only landfill but are toxic for wildlife and soil. Plastic can take decades, centuries or even thousands of years to break down. 

Understanding your waste disposal – how much, your usage – kitchen, outdoor, garden or study, and the shape/size of bin is key to knowing which to buy. Also, knowing whether or not you would like a more environmentally friendly bag option will help you make your decision.

Read more about the different types of plastics in this blog.

How Long Does It Take For Plastic To Decompose?

What Is The Strongest Garbage Bag?

When it comes to finding the strongest garbage bag, it’s very much about the size, usage and type of materials the bags are made from, the thickness of the actual bag and how they are sealed at the base.

  • Flat seal – a basic way to seal a trash bag similar to a pillow case. These seals are often resistant to leaks, however, don’t fit very well in trash cans so may stretch. 
  • Gusset seal – sealed on the bottom with tucked in sides to form extensions or gussets. These are a good choice for standard rubbish but aren’t great with wet or liquid garbage as they may leak.
  • Gauge – the thickness of a trash bag. Thicker trash bags are more than 2 mils thick whereas a standard trash bag is 0.7-2mils.

The strongest trash bags could be seen to be thicker than 2 mil, made from LLDPE and have a flat seal. They will often be called ‘tough’ or ‘heavy duty’ and have been tested for weight capacity and tears. Again, dry weight is recommended over wet or liquid to reduce degradation and leaking.

Read more about HDPE and LDPE in this blog.



What Are The Different Sizes Of Trash Bags?

Trash bins come in different sizes, shapes and capacities, so the sizes of trash bags can also vary in size. Did you know that different countries also have different standard size bins as well? Understanding your bin size is important when choosing the right bag.

Let’s look at  the United States for example. There are square, rectangular or even round trash cans or bins. For these different size bins, there is a range of bag sizes from a small 3.5 gallon to a whopping 60 gallon. US bins and bags are measured in inches and gallons and there are different levels of strength and types of bags from drawstring and tabs to standard bags (no tabs or string) and stand-up bags.

Current popular sizes include:

  • 3.5-4 gallon
  • 7 gallon
  • 7-10 gallon
  • 12-16 gallon
  • 16-20 gallon
  • 21-25 gallon
  • 26-30 gallon
  • 31-35 gallon
  • 40-45 gallon
  • 50 gallon
  • 56-60 gallon.

These bags are used for different areas of the house – for example, the smaller sizes are perfect for bathrooms or studies, whereas the larger are for the kitchen (13-20 gallon) or main outside bin (20-60 gallon).

Read more about global sizes of trash bags here.

ETSUS Trash bag sizes

What Is The Average Weight Of A Filled Household Garbage Bag?

How heavy your filled household garbage bags are depends on which room of the house they are in, what you dispose of in the bin and what type of waste. For example, we’ll look at a standard kitchen waste bag.

A standard kitchen trash can is around 13 gallons holding up to 50 liters of trash or 15-20 pounds of dry rubbish. This also depends on how far you drag or carry the bag and whether it gets damp or wet which can weaken the bag or cause leaks.


Eco-Friendly Trash Bags

With the introduction of compostable trash bags, they provide a great option for the environment with their ability to break down into natural matter. ETSUS compostable bags are also a great solution to disposing of your waste while protecting the environment. 

These bags are 100 per cent compostable when disposed of in an industrial composting facility or in a home composting environment. By purchasing compostable bags, you are taking excellent steps to dispose of your waste in an eco-friendly and responsible way. 

ETSUS trash bags are either compostable or biodegradable and it is your choice which you purchase. The most important thing to consider is whether you will dispose of it in traditional waste or via composter. If you dispose of the bags correctly then you are helping the environment. 

These are not heavy duty bags, however, they can hold your standard household dry waste without ripping or tearing.

View our range of compostable products here.

ETSUS Trash Bags


Trash bags come in all different sizes and can be made from many different materials. Many factors come into play when looking at how much capacity and weight they can hold. This includes, materials they are made from, size, thickness and type of seal.

Trash bags can hold a range of items and dry waste is the most recommended item for the bags to hold their capacity without leaking or breaking. A strong 56-gallon trash bag can hold up to 40 pounds of dry weight and a 10 gallon can hold up to 10 pounds without breaking.

Heavy duty or tough bags are usually able to hold more weight and be carried longer distances. It’s important when you make your decisions that you consider how much waste you’re disposing of, how you will use the bags and where they will be placed in the home.

The size and shape of the trash can or bin is also important, as is knowing whether or not you would like a more environmentally friendly bag option.



    We’re on the mission to research the best sustainable products and these are what we found, these are the questions that we are asking. Disclaimer, we are not scientist but we are heavy researchers and we are passionate about sustainability.