# Paper bag handles..

• posted on January 6, 2016, 2:39 am
Someone complained at the grocery store that the handles fail on the paper grocery bags so they no longer use them. HUH? I've handled several hundred of these bags with no problems
Now that I have had time to think about this I have a theory about what is happening. When the handles are first gripped they should be allowed to shift slightly to center the load on all four anchor points. If the handles are grabbed slightly off center one of the handle ends will be unloaded and the other end overloaded causing the handle to fail. It comes naturally to me to find the center and I don't have trouble with failures but others apparently do not understand this and then bitch. phil k.
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• posted on January 6, 2016, 2:44 am
On Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at 9:39:23 PM UTC-5, Phil Kangas wrote:

Thank you for that scientific analysis, Dr. Phil.
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• posted on January 6, 2016, 5:06 pm
On 1/5/2016 7:39 PM, Phil Kangas wrote:

Here, I would describe the problem (at the one store that uses paper bags with glued on handles) as *side* loading.
You encounter the bag sitting on a surface ~2.5 ft (30in) off the floor (kitchen counters are 3 ft). The bag is 14 in tall. Before the handles will assume any load, they add another 2-3 inches.
So, your hands need to be ~48 in off the floor before you are LIFTING the bag (by way of reference, my hands are ~31" off the floor while walking, HOLDING the bag by the handles). To try to raise the bag from that height is just not a comfortable lifting motion for most people (esp folks who may be short).
Add to this, the fact that the bag is offset from where you want to be carrying it (i.e., its on a counter/conveyor belt, NOT "by your side") and you can see how the initial forces on the bag/handles are to pull it over to the *side* -- not STRAIGHT UP.
When we go to TJ's, *I* bag our purchase. And do so by sliding out the little "shelf" located at knee level from the end of the counter, setting the bag on this which brings the top of the bag (and handles!) to my waist or thereabouts.
This makes loading easier (you aren't lifting items up to chest height and then trying to lower them into the bag but, rather, lowering them from the conveyor into the bag).
And, it also makes it much more likely that I will then lift the bag STRAIGHT UP as the handles are closer to where they will be when I'm carrying the bag AND the bag is right at my side (instead of sitting in the middle of a high counter/conveyor)
But, this little shelf is only accessible from the *end* of the counter. I.e., the position a "bagger" would typically occupy.
The cashier would have to leave his position behind the counter and walk around to stand at the end to use it. Instead, *he* (she) will just load the bag while it is immediately in front of their nominal position and push it over to you -- leaving you with the reach-and-lift problem (and torn handles).
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• posted on January 6, 2016, 5:55 pm
| Someone complained at the grocery store that | the handles fail on the paper grocery bags so | they no longer use them. HUH? I've handled | several hundred of these bags with no problems |
I find they break often. It's not just that they rip. They just come right off of the bag. They're not glued on properly. I always repack into a double bag if the bagger doesn't do it. I think the problem is connected with recycling. The paper used is very low rag content, mostly recycled, and has very little shear strength. There's also very little glue used. (To help with recycling? I don't know.)
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• posted on January 6, 2016, 9:15 pm
Phil Kangas posted for all of us...

This is a very important post which I predict will get many answers. I have been waiting for this question a long time and now can go to my grave satisfied that the Dali Lama has spoken.
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Tekkie

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• posted on January 7, 2016, 2:03 am
On 01/05/2016 09:39 PM, Phil Kangas wrote:

Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) has paper bags with handles that tend to rip when you pick them up.
Meijer, OTOH, uses plastic bags that I have never seen rip.
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• posted on January 7, 2016, 3:20 am
On 01/06/2016 07:03 PM, Muhammad Dihyah wrote:

http://www.thelocal.no/20160106/norway-to-battle-eu-plastic-bag-tyranny
Apparently the EU is trying to phase out plastic bags. The Norwegians are saying the EU can have their plastic bags when they pry them from their cold, dead fingers.
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• posted on January 8, 2016, 4:43 pm

You overhear ONE person complaining and extrapolate a nationwide problem? Hmm.

Wow! One out of perhaps how many billion bags in use? Not what I would call valid sampling since I am sure you got a lot of those several hundred bags from the same source.

Nobel Prize winning science! NOT! Perhaps a more likely explanation is that some bags are well-made and some are not. That's been MY experience. Come back when you've done some actual testing with spring-style fish scales, bags of various vendors across the country and a set of weights to determine the actual failure loads. That's more like science vs. your anecdotal observations based on one bag user (I guess it's two, including you).
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Bobby G.