When removing a plastic bin bag from the bin, the vacuum created and subsequent air pressure makes it difficult to remove.

With drilling holes into the bottom to let air in as a last resort as this would cause problems cleaning the bin, what else can I do?

The bin is a metal pedal bin, similar to this one. Inside there is a hard plastic receptacle, into which I put my bin liner.

Metal pedal bin

  • Is your objection to drilling holes (the simple option) aesthetic because of the sleek shiny look? If so, have you tried just drilling them in the plastic receptacle to see if that helps?
    – TIO Begs
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:14
  • I have a few objections.. When I clean the bin, I steep it in water. If I put the holes too low, I wouldn't be able to put much water in. Too high and the effect of the holes is lessened. Secondly, I'd like to minimise the chance of any garbage "juice" escaping. Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:19

7 Answers 7


If you don't want to let air in from the bottom with holes, you need to somehow let air in from the top.

An easy way to do this is by placing a hollow tube/pipe in the bin. Before you put the liner in, place the tube against the side of the bin (it should be tall enough to reach from bottom to top without preventing it from closing).

This could be something rigid like PVC, or flexible like a hose. You'll lose a very slight bit of capacity, but it will prevent (or at least lessen, depending on the diameter of the tube) the vacuum effect in the bottom of the bin.

Try it out a couple times. If it works well for you, you should be able to hack up a way to mount it in the bin permanently.

  • I like this idea. It reduces the risk of tearing the bag using as stick as Mooseman's answer proposes since the hack is already in place. Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:37
  • You could also reduce the risk by using a yardstick-like object that isn't sharp anywhere, like a rounded dowel rod, etc. The "shove a stick in it" method works pretty well, to be honest. I gave this as an alternative that you could permanently mount/rig if desired.
    – TIO Begs
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:39
  • However, would the lid of my bin stay propped open? Letting out the smell? Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:40
  • 2
    @JamesWebster Cut the tube just short enough that it doesn't. The top can be below the top of the liner, since when you go to pull it out the top of the tube will be uncovered.
    – TIO Begs
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:41
  • Ah yes.. Common sense. :p Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:43

The problem is that you're creating a vacuum in the bottom of the bin. The further you pull the bag, the lower the air pressure in the bottom, thus the more it pulls back. To alleviate this issue, we need to get air to the bottom of the can.

  1. Take a yard stick
  2. Insert it on the side of the bag and push it inwards a bit, towards the bag.
  3. Pull out the garbage bag, easily.

A permanent solution would be to drill a few small holes in the bottom of the can.

  • +1 I've done this a few times, and it works really well. I ended up drilling holes in mine when I carelessly ripped a large hole in the bag while sliding the yardstick in.
    – TIO Begs
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:35
  • If we don't live in the US, can we use a metre stick? : )
    – Stan
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 15:37

I used a spare bit of wire ducting I had left over from fitting a wall hung TV, it had an adhesive strip, a curved contour and was easy to cut to length so I stuck it to the side of the bin flush with the lid with a small gap at the bottom, works a treat and doesn't snag the bag

  • I like this solution - a true life hack using a well optimized readily available item. One length of adhesive ducting from the hardware store could do all the bins in the house, and maybe even the neighbors too
    – Caius Jard
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 5:26

You can tape the bag (left and right) side after you put it in so it easier to take it out the bin when it’s full by tugging the two side you taped


Looks like you've got a pedal bin. Simply hold the bin down with the pedal as you lift out the sack. This should make it much easier to separate the two.

  • 1
    I'm afraid this doesn't work because of the plastic inner part. Even if I remove the inner part completely the problem is the same. Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:34

Personally I've always just drilled holes in which inner or in the back of there is no inner. For my bin, 2 inches up seems about an optimal height; we never have a situation where there is a large amount of bin juice that would escape a bowl 2 inches deep and if I do ever notice bin juice when removing a bag the bin gets washed by sloshing it out promptly with a small amount of water and bleach so there isn't a need for a long soak

Using higher quality bin bags costs slightly more but we find they tear less, so weighing up the extra cost of the bag vs not having to waste my life washing the bin out so often, I figured the better bags were worth it. In mitigating the amount of bags we use, all our bins (trash, cars recycling and other recycling) use the same bags, but for the recycling ones we empty the bag out into the main receptacle outaide, partly because the recycling team don't want us putting opaque bags out where they can't tell what the contents are, and partly because we can then reuse a bag (particularly the mixed glass/metal, that ends up with a bit of beer, soup or whatever rolling round the bottom) formerly in the recycling bin for the trash


Providing you do not compress the contents of the bin, you should find that taking out the bin liner when it is half-full prevents the air seal (usually created by the pressure of the contents pushing against the cylinder wall) is weak enough to allow air to travel relatively freely underneath the liner making it easier to remove.

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