Who Invented Trash Bags?

Trash bags, also known as garbage bags, are essential to our daily waste management system. They provide an easy and convenient way to dispose of our waste products and are widely used worldwide. But who was the inventor of trash bags?


Who invented trash bags?

The inventor of trash bags is credited to Harry Wasylyk, a Canadian inventor who, along with his business partner Larry Hansen, patented the concept of the modern-day trash bag in 1950. Wasylyk and Hansen were employees of a Canadian company called Glover Packaging, which was searching for a new product to sell. The two entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to create a disposable, lightweight, and water-resistant bag that would be used to collect and dispose of household waste.


When were trash bags invented?

Their invention’s exact date is unknown, but trash bags have been in use since the early 1900s. During this time, paper bags were used for waste disposal, but they were not very durable and would often tear easily. Over time, the design and materials used to make trash bags evolved, leading to the development of stronger and more durable bags.

In the mid-20th century, plastic bags began to be used for waste disposal, which provided a more efficient and convenient way to manage waste. Plastic bags were significantly stronger than paper bags and provided a better barrier against moisture and odors. As a result, plastic bags became the preferred choice for waste management and continue to be widely used today.


What are trash bags made of?

Trash bags are typically made of plastic materials such as polyethylene. Polyethylene is a synthetic plastic polymer that is produced from the polymerization of ethylene. This material is favored for its durability, strength, and flexibility, making it an ideal choice for use in trash bags. The production process for polyethylene involves using a high-pressure reactor where the polymer is formed. The material is then extruded into a tube cut into the desired size to create a trash bag.

Trash bags can also be made from biodegradable plastics, designed to break down over time in the environment. These bags are made from polylactic acid (PLA) derived from natural materials like corn starch. Biodegradable trash bags offer an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic bags, helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment.


Types of trash bags

Some of the most common types include:

  • Low-density polyethylene bags- these are the standard bags commonly used for household waste disposal.
  • High-density polyethylene bags – these bags are more durable and puncture-resistant, making them ideal for sharps and heavy waste.
  • Biodegradable bags – these bags are made from materials that break down naturally, reducing their impact on the environment.
  • Compostable bags – these bags are made from plant-based materials and are specifically designed to be composted with food waste.
  • Clear bags – these bags are ideal for separating recyclable materials, allowing workers to see the bag’s contents.

Which trash bags can be recycled?

Only trash bags made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or low-density polyethylene (LDPE) can be recycled. These bags are marked with the recycling symbol, typically a triangle with a number inside, with numbers 2 or 4 indicating that they can be recycled. It’s important to note that clean and dry bags should be recycled, not those contaminated with food waste or other hazardous materials. Recycling trash bags can help reduce the amount of waste in landfills, conserve natural resources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.



The inventor of trash bags is not officially recognized, as they have been used since the early 1900s and have evolved. However, it is widely believed that Canadian inventor Harry Wasylyk developed the modern trash bag as we know it today in 1950. Wasylyk’s invention revolutionized the waste management industry and changed how we dispose of our waste products.

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