Questions Answered #10

In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

Andy rummaged around and asked, succinctly, “Why are bin bags so flimsy?”

Why are bin bags so flimsy?
The simple answer is, they aren’t. You are obviously buying cheap bin bags from Poundland you silly, silly man. Either that or you are expecting them to carry loads heavier than they can manage, or are filling your bin bags with sharp pointy things, like kittens… no wait they go in sacks…

Of course, I’m not suggesting you rush out and replace your current bin bags with some industrial strength, triple-layer, kill-the-planet bin bags. No no, there are other factors that you need to consider first, one of which is how you gauge the carrying strength (or flimsiness ratio) of any given bin-bag. As luck would have it, I happen to have completed extensive research in this very area, and it’s a little known fact that I am one of the leading bin bag analysts on the planet. I don’t mention this often purely because I’m so very humble.

Now, if you are like me, when you are filling a bin bag you just keep chucking stuff into it until it’s full. The general assumption is that, by this point, the bin bag may have exceeded it’s carrying strength parameters because when you try and take it out to the bin it starts to split open. However, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the material from which it is made, nor the contents with which you fill it, that are the only factors that require analysis to determine the flimsiness of the bin bag. In fact it’s a subtle combination of the former two elements + the distance you have to carry the bin bag that are combined to give us a Flimsiness Rating (FR) which can be applied to every individual bin bag.

Note: You may occasionally see the FR system referred to as the “McLean Bag Theorem” (or the “Bag o’ shite” principle) as many believe it can applied to other forms of content carrying apparatus. Studies are ongoing to establish a valid set of data in this respect.

Whilst there are other, less obvious, parameters that may also be taken into account (how you carry the bin bag, whether you swing the bag to and fro whilst walking with it, and so on) largely the three mentioned elements —content, weight, and distance— are all that you need to consider to determine the FR of your bin bag. However, early studies are showing that one parameter, above all others, seems to unduly influence the FR. The specific content of your bin bag may hold the key to being able to determine an accurate FR scale. As such we need rate the content and assign it a value from a weighted index which takes into account the shape and form of the content.

Now, I realise this is a complex scientific that we are discussing and so, to make it easier for the idiots simpletons uneducated masses you lot to understand, a few real life scenarios follow. They presume that you have double-tied the top of the bin bag, and are firmly grasping the bag under the double knot. They also presume that you are not whirling the bin bag around your head whilst pretending to be riding a chariot in a re-enactment of a scene from Gladiator… cos no-one does that, right?

In all the scenarios, you are extracting the bin bag from an internal (kitchen) bin and carrying it outside to your wheely bin. The heights of the kitchen bin, and the wheely bin are taken into consideration. It is presumed that your wheely bin is no further than 10 yards from the point where you remove the bin bag from the kitchen bin.

Scenario 1
You have one bin bag half-full of round lead weights. The bag is very heavy with no sharp edges. The content scores low on the index. The bin bag will likely make it 20 yards before showing signs of stress.

Scenario 2
You have one bin bag, half full of broken glass. The bag is not particularly heavy but has many sharp edges. The content is scored around the middle of the index, and the bin bag is expected to make it around 10 yards before showing signs of stress.

Scenario 3
You have one bin bag containing a rotting chicken carcasses, an over-ripe melon, and a mysterious sludgy liquid. Not that heavy, and has no sharp edges, yet the content is scored at the very top of the index and your bin bag will split open just as you step out the back door, depositing half the contents outside on the back step, and half inside on the floor. Some residual splatter will attach itself to your shoes.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding on the complex and fascinating world of bin bag flimsiness. Follow up comments on this topic will be answered, the floor is open for questions.