Executive Summary

The Quad City International Airport (MLI) needed assistance with finding the correct size of can liners. While the liners fit some of the cans, they were extremely large in others which caused wasted bags and plastic. FlexPAC had two Solution Providers go to do a site survey to help assess the airport’s needs and come up with a solution that would save them money and reduce their plastic waste.

Previous Challenges

MLI had been using the same size can liner, a large 35×58 1.5 mil bag, for all of the trash cans in their facility. This was inefficient and was creating extra costs for the airport. FlexPAC has written several blog posts on the importance of can liner sizes, Choosing the Best Can Liner | 4 Questions to Consider and How to Select the Proper Can Liner. There are four main considerations when identifying which can liner is the right size for your facility, including the size of the receptacle, the type of waste that is being collected, the amount of time before the container is emptied, and the importance of sustainability. Using a liner that is too large creates extra plastic waste, something that many businesses are now trying to avoid.

FlexPAC’s Process

FlexPAC’s first step was to do an on-site survey to better assess the needs of the airport. Our Solution Providers looked at four key components:

  1. Each can that was being used.
  2. The bag being used for each can.
  3. The kind of refuse being thrown into each can/bag.
  4. How the trash bag ultimately made it to the dumpster.

After completing the site survey and analyzing these four components, it was determined that MLI needed two different can liner sizes, compared to the one size they were currently using. It was suggested that MLI switch to one large size liner and one small size liner, both High Density.


MLI was able to switch from universally using one large sized bag, to using a 30×37 8Mic and a 43×48 14Mic liner. This switch means the MLI will have bags that fit their trash receptacles properly and will perform better in relation to the medium-heavy, non-sharps refuse being thrown in. There is a large reduction in plastic use and plastic waste, helping the airport to become more sustainable in its practices. In all, the airport was able to save over 12,000 pounds of raw materials per year or 9.3 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

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