Garbage Bags and Spandrels

February 19, 2008

I love outdoor black garbage bags with the quick tie feature. Instead of a straight cut, the top of the garbage bag is cut in a curved shape so that you end up with two longer edges that are easy to grab.

Now I’m sure that quick tie was a wonderful feature on its own. Many garbage bag executives probably struggled with the idea of re-engineering their manufacturing processes to add this functionality. For me, I couldn’t care less about the extra handle-like feature. So why do I love them?

Well, having the curved cut has a positive side-effect. A spandrel in evolutionary biology terms.  The curved cut allows me to easily tell the “open” edge from the sealed edge. No more pulling back and forth between the two edges unsure of which side is supposed to open.

Now I’m sure there are other ways to distinguish edge that opens from the sealed edge but it makes me happy that this minor irritation was fixed inadvertently by a feature designed with a whole different purpose in mind.

RADBags with New Opening Detection Technology.  What a wonderful discovery :-)