Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Boulder Flex Extra Strong Drawstring Trash Bags (Aldi)

Not worth the price. Or any, really.
There seem to be a wide variance in the quality of trash bags. I guess it makes sense, given that more expensive bags tend to use materials that are more resistant to tearing and ripping than the cheaper things; let's just say I bought dollar store trash bags once in my life, and that was the only time I ever made that mistake.

But even a lot of store brands seem to struggle with quality issues, as if the national brands are the only ones with a patent on anti-rip technology. And one of the worst offenders in recent memory comes in the form of Boulder Flex Drawstring trash bags, which actually begs you to compare them to the national brand right there on the packaging.

Now, for starters, I'll admit that I could come off as somewhat biased, because I think drawstring trash bags are a complete waste of money. It was actually Aldi that put it into perspective for me when comparing prices one day at one of their stores: while on the shelf the prices between both drawstring and flap versions are exactly the same ($4.99), a quick glance at product count just about literally blew my mind: 80 bags of the flaps, versus just 45 of the drawstring. That means you are almost getting twice as many flap bags as you are drawstring, and for the same exact price.

My wife has always been a proponent of the drawstring bags, and I get why: they're much easier to deal with. Just pull the bag shut, and they're pretty much ready to go. Some of them also put fragrance in the drawstring part, helping to mask the smell of disgusting garbage that's been sitting around for far too long, which can be another benefit. But, to me, taking an extra 5-10 seconds to tie off a flap bag just doesn't seem like enough of a justification to spend that much more on drawstrings. If it were a five or ten bag difference, fine, but 35 bags?! Nah.

Well, one day my wife ended up going to Aldi to grab some things without me, and so of course, we ended up with a box of drawstring trash bags. I was incredibly disappointed with her, and immediately condemned her decision as she knew I would (she couldn't have cared less, for the record), but figured that the damage had already been done—she had bought them and we were going to have to use them. So we did.
And it's fitting that they are garbage bags, because these things are absolute trash.
Now, we do have one of those garbage cans with a “swinging” lid on top, so maybe that has something to do with it (although I would also assume that just about everyone using these puts them in some kind of confined container), but at least two times now, the entire drawstring part just rips off when we go to take them out of the trash can. I mean, I stop pulling before the entire top is taken off, but what good is a drawstring trash bag with only half of a drawstring by the time you go to throw it out?

This is unfortunate, because performance does seem to be increased across the rest of the bag: from past experience, the lower half of Boulder's trash bags seem to rip pretty easily in certain situations, although never so bad that we have completely sworn the brand off. These bags actually do seem to be much sturdier toward the bottom—they have that "ribbed" material that allows it to expand while resisting tears--and it definitely seems to help. In fact, it would seem that the only issue with these is that pesky drawstring.

But...that drawstring is literally the only thing you're paying extra for versus their cheaper “regular” bags; to have them fail like that is a pretty big issue. And if it happened once, whatever, maybe it's just a freak accident, but twice—and within the first ten bags we used overall—is a pretty big indicator that these just suck. 

Overall: 2.5/10. The bottom half of the bags—which is where we tend to have the most problem with Aldi trash bags—have actually held up really well. Unfortunately, it's the whole “drawstring” part that has given us problems, with the strings to two bags ripping almost completely off when we go to take them out of the trash can. One time, could be just a fluke accident, but twice? And within the first ten bags we've used overall? Not really a confidence-building occurrence. Especially considering that drawstring is what jacks up the per-bag price over their “regular” flap bags. We definitely won't be grabbing these again anytime soon...or probably ever.

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