A Helpful Guide To Common Trash Bag Size And Rubbish Bin Sizes

A Helpful Guide To Common Trash Bag Size And Rubbish Bin Sizes

Trash bags are different sizes for different rubbish bins and across different countries, so how do you know which bag fits into your rubbish bin properly?

If you’re struggling to find the right trash bag or are just a little confused, the key things to know before purchasing a bag is your rubbish bin shape and its capacity or size. The bag will be bigger than the gallon capacity and go by the width of the bin. Measure the width of your can and the size will be that or larger. For example, a 24-gallon bin with a dimension of 40’ wide will be a 40-45 gallon bag.


What Are The Different Trash Bag Sizes Available?

With trash bins coming in different sizes, shapes and capacities, it makes sense that there are many different sizes of trash bags to go along with the bin. Did you know that different countries also have different standard sizes bins as well? 

Let’s start with 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
  • 13-15 gallon
  • 16-20 gallon
  • 21-25 gallon
  • 26-30 gallon
  • 31-35 gallon
  • 40-45 gallon
  • 50 gallon
  • 56-60 gallon.


What Are The Most Popular Trash Can Sizes In The USA?

In the United States, the most well-used bin sizes include the standard size kitchen trash can and the large commercial/recycling cans. Typically the outdoor rolling garbage cans are around 20, 35 or 60-gallon sizes.

Indoor bins tend to come in different sizes and shapes, but typically, a household’s main indoor bin is around 10-16 gallons. Smaller bins for use in a bathroom, study or bedroom will stay around the 4-10 gallon size.

Households with more people or waste or shared bins for the likes of complexes or apartments, will, of course, lend toward the larger outdoor bins.


How Do I Know Which Size Fits A Trash Bin?

 So you have your trash can and what the usage will be, but how do you choose the right trash bag? The wrong trash bag can be too tight, ripping or not catching all the waste due to the ill fit around the can. A bigger bag could slip inside the bin or catch on items, dropping some of the waste.

There are two key ways to determine what size of trash bag you should purchase based on the size.

Round trash can – take the diameter and multiply by 3.14 (PI!) and divide by two which is the width of the trash bag. Then measure the height of your can and add some extra (2-4 inches) for overhang and to take into account the base of the bin.

ø x π ÷ 2 = width of the trash bag

h + 2 =  height of the trash bag

Square or rectangle trash can – take the perimeter (adding all sides of your garbage can) then divide by two. This is the width. Then measure the height and again add 2-4 inches.

P x 4 ÷ 2 = width of the trash bag

h + 2 =  height of the trash bag

Using these handy calculations, you will make sure your bag fits correctly and covers the bottom of the can correctly. This is important, as you don’t want your bag to slip and drop waste or break as you lift it out. Correctly fitting your bag means clean and tidy disposal of waste!

Common Trash Bag Size

What Trash Bag Size Should I Use Per Room?

As mentioned, there are different trash cans for different usages. This also includes rooms. For example, a study or bedroom will need a smaller trash bin than your outdoor waste or kitchen. A bathroom will also need a smaller bin as will desks in an office. An office or common space in a business may need larger bins.

So what size should you use per room? Of course, this will change for different family situations – for example, a household of one will have less waste than a household of five. Here is a guide to the popular size bins per room:

  • Small trash can for a bathroom or bedroom – 3.5-4 gallons
  • Standard kitchen use – 7-10 gallons
  • Standard wastebasket for an office, business or study – 12-16 gallons
  • Kitchen or common space – 16-20 gallons.
  • Large office, storage or large common space – 21-25 gallons.
  • For large amounts of waste – business or waste disposal ie spring cleaning – 31-35 gallons
  • For outdoor waste disposal – 40-45 gallons
  • Commercial use or large cleanups – 56-60 gallons.

If you run a business, larger size trash cans are a better option with more people contributing to the waste than a family. Commercial kitchens or construction sites also will require larger bags/cans as well as more durable options so they can hold heavy waste or liquid.


Where Can You Find Most Trash Bags?

Now that you know the different trash bag sizes and where you should use them, where can you find your handy trash bags? Easily enough, most general stores, supermarkets, online stores and homeware stores.

Trash bags are relatively easy to find, depending on what you need them for. For example, stand-up bags like you’d use for garden clean ups or thicker bags for heavier waste, may be a little harder to find. However, most of these garden or industrial style bags will be found at your nearest hardware store.

ETSUS biodegradable trash bag

Do Countries Have Different Size Trash Bags?

Of course, in the US we have a range of popular trash can and trash bag sizes, which we’ve covered. However, did you know that other countries not only have different popular sizes, but also different names for their trash cans?

The British and Australians often call their bins a rubbish bin or garbage bin and their bags have several names! This includes:

  • Garbage bag
  • Bin liner
  • Rubbish bag
  • Refuse sack.

In these countries, the waste disposal is often a little different to the US and they have what they call ‘wheelie’ bins that they put on the kerb each week for disposal. Their bags are also in centimetres (metric) and litres (capacity).

‘Wheelie’ bins in Australia for outdoor household waste tend to be a little bigger than US standard outdoor trash cans at 240 liters or 64 gallons. There are also recycling bins and green waste bins as well as smaller, two-wheel bins that most councils provide as part of a quarterly rates bill.


What Size Bins Do ETSUS Trash Bags Fit?

For the eco-conscious, the exciting news is that companies such as ETSUS have been introducing sustainable trash bags that you can use and reduce your environmental footprint. ETSUS’ first compostable product in the range includes 13-gallon trash bags and dog poop bags.

This means that you can use your trash bag knowing that it can break down completely into natural matter when disposed of correctly. These compostable bags will fit in a standard four-to-six-gallon trash can which is perfect for your bathroom, office, bedroom or even a small kitchen bin! They are 100 per cent compostable and eco-friendly, made of sustainably grown corn starch.

Consider purchasing an ETSUS trash bag for your indoor, home bins and start taking steps toward reducing your environmental impact.


What Are The Benefits Of Using ETSUS Trash Bags?

The ETSUS trash bags provide a wonderfully environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastic garbage bags. They are 100 per cent compostable when disposed of in an industrial composting facility, home composter or worm farm. 

They also don’t release toxic chemicals when being decomposed which is a win for the environment, wildlife and humans. The key to getting the most benefits from your ETSUS compostable trash bags is to ensure they are disposed of correctly AND the waste inside is also compostable.

You can rest assured your choice to purchase ETSUS compostable bags is lowering your environmental footprint. You are also contributing to the growth of the bioplastics market and encouraging the manufacturing of this plastic alternative.

This support also helps to grow job opportunities and growth in rural areas across the world that are used to produce the natural materials required (such as crops).

Read more about the bioplastic market here.

ETSUS Compostable Trash Bags In Action

ETSUS compostable trash bags are made from PLAs (polylactic acid) featuring sustainably grown corn starch – a popular material used for biodegradable and compostable plastics due to its availability and natural state. Being a natural product means no toxic chemicals are present and they break down into natural matter. To put these to the test, I trialed an ETSUS compostable trash bag in my own worm farm to observe the rate it broke down over 45 days.

Day 27, the bag started to break down in its natural environment amongst worms, food scraps, soil and microorganisms in this uncontrolled environment. Day 45 it had broken down into small fragments even smaller than my thumb!

With this home experiment, I can be confident that these trash bags provide an excellent alternative to standard plastic bags. For best results I recommend disposing of your compostable trash bags in an industrial facility, however, you can be assured that the bag will also decompose in your own home compost – just at a slower rate.

Read more about our home experiment here.


Is It Easy To Decompose Your Bags At Home?

If all of this talk about worm farms and self-composting has pricked your ears up, you may be wondering how easy it is to have your own worm farm or home composter? The answer is: it’s easier than you may think BUT it does take research, understanding and work.

Anyone can start a worm farm or home composting facility depending on their needs. Of course, the space you have for it, the amount of waste you will dispose of and what you will use the compost for will all come into play.

There are many ways to compost and it’s important to understand these different ways before starting. But, rest assured, there are many things you can dispose of in a worm farm or composter along with your trash bags!

You can read more about home composting in this article.


What Trash Bag Size Do You Prefer To Use?




As we’ve just discussed, there are many types, sizes and capacities of trash cans or bins. Along with this, there are different size bags to fit these bins. There are also different strengths and type of bags i.e. stand up, drawstring or tabs.

A good way to quickly decide (if you aren’t home to measure the bin) is that the bag will be bigger than the gallon capacity. You can go by the rough width of the can and the size will be that or larger. For example, a 24-gallon bin with a dimension of 40’ wide will be a 40-45 gallon bag.

Countries also have different bin and bin bag sizes based on use, frequency of disposal and capacity. It can be confusing to know which bag or bin liner fits your bin, but you can calculate this by some easy calculations which usually take into account the diameter and height of the bin (round) or the perimeter and height (square/rectangle).

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.

With compostable trash bags such as ETSUS currently on the market, you can rest assured that there is a more eco-friendly way that you can dispose of your bags. Of course, ensuring the waste inside is also compostable is key!



    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.