By John Brady, No Slip Bags (firstname.lastname@example.org/ 949-393-2348)
My name is John Brady, and as a small business owner, I'm a somewhat frequent guest at hotels and motels. Usually, I'm thinking about better designs for quilting tools that I market under my company name, Guidelines4Quilting. But during my hotel stays, I couldn’t help but notice a problem with the common method I saw used by housekeeping to prevent the trash bags from slipping.
I’m talking about this:
On every stay, in every trashcan, I would see oversized trash bags with knots tied in them. And, as I filled those trashcans, the top of the bag, knot and all, would start to rise up and eventually slip over the top ending up inside the trashcan.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure smaller bags without knots would slip even easier, but those knots never really got the top of the bag truly tight around the top of the trashcan.
The knot will lock up before the bag is truly tight
Maybe you've tried this yourself and know there is a trick to getting the top of the bag truly tight. If the bag is already in the can, the knot is always going to lock up before the bag's opening is very tight around the can. The only way to get it truly tight is to tie the knot before putting the bag in the can.
The problem with doing it that way is that you have to take an educated guess as to where to tie the knot. Too far in, and the opening will become too small and the bag will tear when you try to stretch it around the can. Not far enough, and you still have an unsecured bag. If you have staff that can do it that way and get it right consistently, my experience during hotel stays tells me you are the exception.
No one wants to create a sticky mess in the trashcan
I always like to have a room with at least a fridge and microwave which means sticky empty packaging. Stuffing the sticky packaging from just one frozen dinner into the trashcan can cause that knot in the trash bag to slip up and over the top. You can pull the bag back up, but that will often cause the trash already in the bag to come back up with it.
Compress the trash down to fit more in, and the bag slips down. Pull the bag back up and that trash will come right back up with it. Fighting with trash bags and sometimes leaving a sticky mess on the trashcan bothered me enough to think there had to be a better way.
The current solutions aren’t practical for hotels
Search how to stop trash bags from slipping on Google and number one will be large rubber bands. You’ll find plenty of praise about how they keep the bag from slipping, but you’ll also find negative comments about keeping track of the bands, added costs and needing different sized bands for different trashcans. Those negatives rule it out for use in hotels.
I also came across an attachment you could add to trashcans. Again, users love how it prevents bags from slipping, but some found the attachment would come off over time. An additional problem for hotels would be that it would prevent the trashcans from being able to nest together if you need to transport or store them.
What’s needed is a simple, built-into the bag, solution
I design and manufacture tools for quilters so I’m used to thinking not only about what a tool can do, but also, how it can be manufactured. Having said that, trash bags have been around for over 70 years, so this next part sounds a little crazy, even to me.
I’ve applied for, and received a patent on a simple, built-in solution to make trash bags that can quickly and easily be tightened around any trashcan to prevent slipping. They would save your housekeeping staff time and make it easier to keep the trashcans in the rooms, and anywhere else in the hotel, clean and sanitary.
In all honesty, I assumed a patent search would show that someone else had at least come close to my idea, thereby making it un-patentable. After all trash bags have been around for over 70 years, and no one likes it when they slip down. How could there be such a simple and effective solution to prevent slipping that hadn’t already been tried?
My idea is very simple. It's just to add a strip to each bag. One end of the strip would be attached to the bag near the opening, and the other end would be loose and include an adhesive patch covered by a release liner. You simply grab the loose end, remove the release liner, pull the bag tight, and lock it in.
You don't need oversized bags, and you can quickly and easily get the bag's opening truly tight around the opening of the can.
Why hasn’t this been done before?
So why hasn't someone come up with a better solution than tying knots or using large rubber bands before? I think I have the answer, and it's all about perspective.
In researching prior solutions, I found a pattern. They all looked to solve the slipping problem from the perspective of after the bag was in the trashcan. Once it's in a can, the only thing exposed is the inside surface of the bag. The outside of the bag is now completely hidden. Both what you see in the can and hanging over the top are the inside surface of the bag.
When I first started thinking about a strip as the solution to this problem, the obvious place to attach it was where it hangs over the top of the trashcan, on the inner surface. I would never have gone further with that idea because of the manufacturing problems it would create.
My next thought was, hmmmm... too bad you can't attach it to the outer surface right before it gets rolled up at the end of the conveyor belt. Well, it never hurts to try, so I did. I attached a strip to the outside and found that although where it was attached was hidden, the free end would hang down, so it was easy to see and grasp after the bag was in the can. Then I researched high-speed machinery that can add strips to the outside of bags, as per my patent, to make sure they are available.
This can be done but I need your opinion
The bottom line is, this can be done, with very little added cost per bag once automated. The catch is that there will be some upfront cost to automate the process. I need the opinions of hospitality professionals like you to get trash bag manufacturers to give this serious consideration.
Please let me know if you would like to see No-Slip Trash Bags manufactured and available to your housekeeping staff. Visit noslipbags.com for more info, and click the email link to contact me and leave an opinion that I can share with trash bag manufacturers.