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 :-)

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2 Responses to “Garbage Bags and Spandrels”

  1. Yappa Says:

    It’s funny how we bloggers post our thoughts, hoping they might resonate with someone in the great wide world… and here I have found resonation in your post on garbage bags.

    I have never had a bit of trouble opening a garbage bag so don’t really need the new opening detection technology – although it sounds convenient. However, I have developed a big hate for black and green bags. I can stand orange and blue (barely), but for all practical purposes, my garbage bags must be yellow.

    Why do we develop these odd preferences? Does it indicate too much consumer choice? Or is it a good thing that we can develop an aesthetic sense that goes beyond the art we hang on our walls?

  2. Dan Says:

    Funny, I was doing my garbage last week and thought the same thing (about how knowing which end to open became easier).


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