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Plastic Bags Heavy Medium Light Duty

A Guide to Plastic bags

An explanation of the sizes

In the standard format for describing a bag:

The width of the bag is always taken to be the side that opens, so this is normally, but not necessarily, the shorter side. The width of the bag is given before the length. The thickness of the bag is given last and is usually expressed in 'gauge' (100 gauge = 1/1000 of an inch).

The size of a bag is given as: Width (inches) x Length (inches) x Thickness (Gauge) For example: if a bag is said to be 4" x 6" x 150 gauge then the bag is 4" wide by 6" long with 150 gauge thickness and the bag will open on the 4" width.

How thick is thick?

100 gauge a 1/1000 of an inch 120 gauge 'light duty' - good for protective covering

250 gauge 'medium duty' - good for holding light materials

500 gauge 'heavy duty' - where strength is required

Metric and Imperial

Most measurements are given in imperial (inches and gauge) but some of us prefer to use metric scales and the conversions are as follows:

width/Length 1" = 25.4 mm thickness

400 gauge = 100 micron

For example: a 4"x 6" x 150 gauge bag is the same as a 102mm x 152mm x 37.5 micron bag


Some bags have a gusset at the sides to help the bag open out more and enable a greater volume of items to be put in - a good example is a refuse sack. Others have a gusset at the bottom to enable a wide product to fit in - a good example is a carrier bag. A side gusset is expressed as a bag being x" wide opening to y" wide. For example: if a refuse sack is 16 x 25" x 39" this means it is 16" wide opening to 25" wide when the gusset is opened, with a bag length of 39". A bottom gusset is expressed as + x". For example: if a carrier bag is 15" x 18" + 3" then the carrier is 15" wide by 18" long with a bottom gusset of 3"

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