Bag Specifications and Glossary of Terms

Purchasing retail packaging, plastic bags, paper bags and eco friendly shopping bags can be a bit confusing at times. There are many different products and materials that are used to produce these highly desirable items. Below we have included some a glossary of terms used for manufacturing of these bags. Hopefully this information will help you make an educated decision. If you still need additional help, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-770-4906 and we will be more than happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Polyethylene is one of the most used plastic substrates in the world. Low Density Polyethylene is the substrate used in many plastic bags mostly because it provides high strength, clarity and flexibility.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

High Density or HDPE bags are produced out of a thin and light substance, which promotes lower cost of the poly bags as well as lowering the cost of shipping. High Density bags are not as transparent as Low Density poly bags are, however they are quite strong, have a better tear-resistance and stiff, making these bags more economical and stronger.


Cellophane offers superior clarity for displaying of internal materials. Cellophane film has the ability to act as a barrier from the environment to preserve aromas and keeps food fresher, longer. Cellophane due to clarity and ability to allow natural light to penetrate the packaging, also helps to enhance the appearance of the products contained within. Cellophane is not good for use in areas where they can be exposed to higher temperatures.


Polypropylene maintains the highest clarity of all poly substrates. Polypro is a very good material to protect products against humidity, moisture and airborne contaminants. It is suitable for use with food products, cardstock, and products that contain oils, fragrances, perfumes. Polypro is the most preferred substrate used for displaying goods.

Flat Poly Bags
W: Width
L: Length
Gauge: The gauge indicates the thickness of the bag. For more information check the conversion chart below

Gusseted Poly Bags
W: Width
D: Depth (gusset x 2)
L: Length
Gauge: The gauge indicates the thickness of the bag. For more information check the conversion chart below

Round Container Length: Add ½ of the diameter to the length plus 4″ for overhang.
Choose next larger size for best fit. Width: Measure around the container top or multiply the diameter by 3.14, divide by 2 and add 2″ for a looser fit.

For a Cover:
Add 3″ to the width and 3″ to the depth for a loose fit.
Add half of depth to the length.
W: 25″+3″= 28″
D: 20″+3″ = 23″
L: 40″ + 10″= 50″
Size to order: 28 x 23 x 50

For a Inner Liner:

Add 4″ to either width or depth. Add all the depth to the length plus a few inches for overlapping ends.

25 + 4 = 29
20 = 20
40 + 20= 60

Size to order:
29 x 20 x 60

Conversion Chart

Gauge in Mil

Gauge in Inches

Gauge in Microns

.30 .00030 7.62
.35 .00035 8.89
.40 .00040 10.16
.45 .00045 11.43
.50 .00050 12.70
.55 .00055 13.97
.60 .00060 15.24
.65 .00065 16.51
.70 .00070 17.78
.75 .00075 19.05
.80 .00080 20.32
.85 .00085 21.59
.90 .00090 22.86
.95 .00095 24.10
.100 .00100 25.40

Can Liner Term used for garbage, trash or waste bags. Used in industrial, institutional and medical applications

Colors Can liners come in standard colors: clear; black, white, gray, red, blue and yellow (Other colors available)

Food and Utility Bags Small clear bags designed to hold a variety of small objects (e.g., bread, poultry, vegetables, etc)

Film Strength Refers to the physical strength of the can liner. Some resins have a higher film strength than others. Our bags are made from highest quality resins, giving them the highest quality film in the market place.

Dart Drop Test ASTM test used to determine the resistance of a bag to local failure or puncturing of the film.

Elmendorf Tear Test ASTM test used to measure the resistance to tearing.

Wet Load Capacity Measurement of how much wet weight a bag will hold.

Dry Load Capacity Measurement of how much dry weight a bag will hold.

Gauge Term used to describe thickness, LDPE and LLDPE bags are measured by mil thickness and HDPE bags are measured by micron thickness.

Mil (One thousandth of an inch) Term used in the measurement of LDPE and LLDPE bags.
One mil is .001″. Can liners range between .35 to 4.0 mil.

Micron Term used in the measurement of HDPE bags. 25.4 microns equals .001″. 1,000 microns (M) = 1mm. HMW-HDPE can liners are 6 to 24 microns.

Resin Short term for Polyethylene (PE) resin. The three types of PE resins are LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE (see below).
Other plastics resins include vinyl, polypropylene, styrene and nylon.

LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) This resin was used with older bag technology.
Resin has good clarity but weak film strength. Today it is used primarily for Food and Utility Bags.

LLDPE (Linear Low Density Polyethylene) This is the primary type of resin used in modern can liner manufacturing technology. Bags made from LLDPE film provide excellent combination of film strength, puncture resistance and tear resistance.

HDPE (High Molecular Weight-High Density Polyethylene) Bags made from HDPE resin provide excellent film strength and puncture resistance, but less tear resistance than LLDPE.

HAO (Higher Alpha Olefin resin) A high-grade Hexene or Octane-based resin used in all of our LLD liners. The properties of this resin allow for a higher-quality can liner.

Butene One of three types of LLDPE resin. Butene has weaker film-strength properties than Hexene or Octene.

Hexene One of three types of LLDPE resin. We use Higher Alpha Olefin (High Grade Hexene) in the manufacturing of our bags. Properties include high film strength and increased tear resistance.

Octene One of three types of LLDPE resin. We use Higher Alpha Olefin (High Grade Octene) in the manufacturing of our bags. Used in other applications because of its excellent physical properties.

Prime Resin Refers to the usage of high-quality, “fresh from the reactor,” resin. We use only prime resins in all of the products we produce, unless specified otherwise.

Blended Resin Refers to the combination of two or more types of resin.

Reprocessed Resin Refers to resin that has been used at least once before. Can be post-industrial (scrap) or post-consumer (recycling). Property of resin is decreased each time it is reused.

Seal Term used to describe bottom of a can liner. The three types of seals are flat, gusseted and star.

Flat Seal Straight seal along bottom of a bag. Though Flat Seals are strong, they may have a tendency to leak from the corners.

Gusset Seals A flat-style bag manufactured with both sides tucked in to form gussets.
Has a tendency to leak from the center at gusset points where four layers of film meet two.

Star Seal This multilayered seal is full gusseted and then folded prior to sealing, allowing for the contents to be evenly distributed.

Top-Side Dispenser Box An innovative style of box that allows stacking in small spaces.
It is just as easy to pull a can liner from the side as it is the top.

Individually Folded Bags are separately folded, then stacked on top of one another.
This allows the end-user to pull bags out of the box with much more ease vs. bulk-folded bags.

Cored Rolls Bags are rolled together on cardboard cylinders.

Coreless Rolls Can liners are rolled in groups of 25 or 50 per roll. There are 4 to 10 rolls per case. Rolls are perforated or interleaved.