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Black Bin Liner Bags...what's The Problem?


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I have only just started geocaching and one of the most popular outer covering for most of the caches I have bagged so far has been black bin liner bags....yet I have been hearing that these bags are frowned upon and just recently I read that one cacher was asked to remove it from his container by Geocache.com ;)

 

So why are these black bags frowned upon?

 

Ullium.

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Because they get horribly wet and smelly inside and it's very unpleasant to have to deal with a torn, holey, smelly, wet plastic bin liner... often with slugs and snails in as they love such places!

 

When I placed both of my caches, I put the containers in a black bin liner and was asked to remove the bag by the approver. My caches were both approved BEFORE I had done this, I was just asked to do it next time I visited my caches for routine maintenance.

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Thanks Leoness :D

 

yet as far as I can see there are a lot of black bin liner bags still being used ;)

 

It would appear a lot of cachers are ignoring this advise :P

 

So if not black bin liners...then what should one use to protect the container ???

 

I have been replacing torn outer coverings with tough garden refuse bags and where possible tying a knot in them to prevent the entry of dampness or snails and slugs....so should I be doing this??

 

I have printed out the whole page of geocaching rules and instructions concerning placing and maintaining caches and this doesn't appear to be covered (excuse the pun LOL).

 

Ullium.

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I think a bin liner should not be necessary provided that a suitable tupperware container or ammo box is used, as these are waterproof anyway. It shouldn't be necessary to wrap a decent quality container up in a plastic bag.

 

I have come across many containers in plastic bags... in fact I found one today. If it's not mentioned when submitting a cache for approval, then how is the approver to know!

 

I have seen some excellent tupperware boxes with flip over lids which are easy to seal (can't remember the name... lock lock?) and ammo boxes are the best.

 

I feel that it is also the reponsibility of the finder to ensure that the lid is securely fastened and any zip lock bags inside the cache are properly closed, to provide a water tight seal.

 

Just my two pennyworth!

Edited by Leoness
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Bin liners soon get torn and shredded and may even become litter as it gets blown from the cache ;) . Often the plastic used to make them are bio-degradable, making them unsuitable for long term protection.

I believe cachers may use them as a way to disguise their brightly coloured lunch boxes, an alternative I use is matt black spray paint available cheaply from DIY and car part stores.

Edited by Phillimore Clan
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Just my two pennies worth!

 

Plastic bags can not only become litter but are hazardous to wildlife too, smaller animals can become entangled in them and larger ones may try to eat them.

The guidelines discourage their use, and as part of the agreement made with some landowners plastic bags are not permitted.

As Leoness said they get smelly and trap water, the stagnant water smell on your fingers does not go away easily even after washing your hands either. ;) Some of the wettest cache boxes I have come across have been wrapped in bags, far better to use a good container. If you think that wrapping your cache in a plastic bag will make your box waterproof it can't be good enough in the first place.

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To the tune of Men in Black/Forget me nots:

 

Come and get your black bin bags

On offer 'til December

Come and get your black bin bags

They're long and black and slender

 

Sorry to all those people who didn't watch Phoenix Nights, it's just that every time someone mentions black bin bags I get the song in my head and I just had to share it.

 

Tigger

Edited by Pengy&Tigger
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.........and just recently I read that one cacher was asked to remove it from his container by Geocache.com ;)

.

If I review a cache in a plastic bag I try always to mail the setter and ask them to remove it for the reasons. stated above. both of environmental importance and cache hygeine.

 

However I am always very careful to state that it is NOT a requirement of gc.com, the presence of a bag will NOT disqualify the cache, it is merely a personal request. I also tend to point them the gagb.org.uk where the suggested, but non-mandatory UK guidelines exist.#

 

Cheers and Cache Well,

 

Eckington

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We recently did a small series of three caches that were all wrapped in green bin liners (are they also frowned upon or is it just coz they's black? ;) ).

 

Considering the caches had only been placed about two months ago all three were damp and smelly and one of the bags was falling to pieces.

 

I agree with Leoness - ammo cans are best and they are so cheap from your local surplus outlet.

 

The Hokesters...

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Try chewing and swallowing some of a black plastic bin liner ,or other plastic bag .Wait for the blockage that can result in your digestive system ,feel the pain ,but remember you are a wild animal ,so cant take youself to the nearset hospital.That's what is wrong with black bin liners or other similar bags left by anyone where wild life could eat it.

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Thanks for the link bradonline.co.uk :D

 

I never even knew this website existed :P

 

I have printed out the whole ten pages of the Geocaching Listing Requirements/Guidelines and was using that to aid me prepare to place my first caches. I will now add this page as well B)

 

In the past I have been replacing any torn plastic outer covers with tough green garden refuse bags and taking away the torns ones in my rucksack....thinking I was helping to maintain these caches ;)

 

Now I'm not too sure what I should be doing???

 

Due to the particular locations of some caches (and the British/Scottish weather) I would have thought that some outer cover was necessary for the ordinary tupperware box which can pop open all too easily if the air inside them is subjected to heat or if they are not closed absolutely properly. B)

 

Also, usually self seal or zip lock bags can be quite difficult to seal and if too much air is left inside them can pop open again if subjected to any pressure when being a bit squashed inside an outer container. The vast majority of self seal bags I have come across are unsealed just because of the reasons above.

 

The bigger self seal bags are also used as outer coverings on occasion and if rule 9 above is interpreted strictly then these are really not any different from black bin liners in composition and should be removed !?

 

Also, a cache outer covering can sometimes have more to do with camouflage than waterproofing....so removing it could endanger the cache!!

 

It would appear to me that bin liner question is not all that clear cut ???

 

Ullium.

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Also, a cache outer covering can sometimes have more to do with camouflage than waterproofing....so removing it could endanger the cache!!

There are other ways to camouflage caches, paint being one, but with that said ammo cans are still the best for caches IMHO

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Due to the particular locations of some caches (and the British/Scottish weather) I would have thought that some outer cover was necessary for the ordinary tupperware box which can pop open all too easily if the air inside them is subjected to heat or if they are not closed absolutely properly. ;)

It seems to me that condensation in the bags makes it much more likely for the cache to get wet. In my experience caches in bags are always damp and wet wheras those left out dry in hot weather.

 

I've never know a box to pop open due to heat - I'm not sure Air expands that much ??

 

In practice most tupperware seems to remain perfectly watertight for a year or two (some degrades and becomes britle after a year or so) without placky bags which get holes in them really quickly. Generally we use Ammo boxes and have only had one wet cache which was a combination of a bent lid causing a busted seal and the cache being under 1 foot of water!

 

HTH

Chris

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Chris:

Oh hot air expands a fair amount Chris :DB)B)

Though I will agree most of tupperware boxes that I've found popped are more down to careless closing by the previous visitor ;)

 

Of the twenty odd caches you've placed Chris, just how many are ammo boxes??

 

The point I'm making is that with geocaching becoming more and more a urban pastime as opposed to being out in the wilds, ammo boxes (apart from the fact that it is easier to obtain tupperware boxes) are not all that easy to hide, as they require a lot more space than the smaller tupperware box.

 

In my eighty odd bagged caches....I can only remember about two that were ammo boxes!!

 

bradonline.co.uk:

There are other ways to camouflage caches, paint being one, but with that said ammo cans are still the best for caches IMHO

 

Of course there are other ways to camouflage a container but none as convenient or as widely used as an outer waterproof covering B)

Some I've found recently have had green gortex coverings....I take it no one can object to that?

 

Also, are you saying that all or most of the caches you have placed are ammo cans then??

 

Purely from my own very short lived experience of geocaching...I think there must be a lot of cachers ignoring these guidelines....a heck of a lot :P

 

Ullium.

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The problem with tupperware style plastic boxes in the outdoors is not that the air expansion pops the top so much (I doubt that it would have enough overpressure to do that) but that the daily heating and cooling of the air inside the box causes moisture to be sucked into the box. This is how:

 

In the morning the box is cold

The air warms up over the course of the day, the air in the box expands and a small amount is pushed out the seals

In the evening the air cools and the air in the box contracts. Slowly, colder (and depending on the weather) damper air is sucked into the box

The moisture condenses and soaks into absorbent items

 

Why does the warmth of the day dry the box off? Because it never gets warm enough.

The less there is in the box (that is, the more air it contains) the worse the problem. Similarly, the less often it is visited the worse it gets.

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Of the twenty odd caches you've placed Chris, just how many are ammo boxes??

All Except the virts and those in Donegal. The only time we would not use ammo boxes is for Micros, as we still have quite a few ammo boxes left in the shed.

 

Small Ammo cans arn't much different to tupperware in size just harder to get hold of.

 

In my experience plastic bags seem to be more popular up north - but that could be just me.

 

Chris

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I seem to recall that GC.com recommend using transparent boxes as these could be found by a muggle and NOT reported to the Anti-Terrorist branch of the Police Service to be destroyed by controlled explosion. Ammo boxes do look more 'suspicious' than a see-thro plastic sandwich box, you have to admit.

 

When I first started hiding caches I used binbags to help conceal them as this is what I'd seen other cachers do. To keep water out I put the cache in the bottom, seal it with two twists, pull the bag inside out and seal it again... and if there's room I do it a third time. When visitors to the cache do the same thing it does keep the cache fairly water and bug-free. Picking a spot with good natural cover from the elements helps too, of course.

 

I've seen fairly tattered black bags in use and it always looks the result of thorns and wind tugging them open to me. The only animal damage I've seen is on the lids of micros. I think the number of caches in the UK (3000? 4000?) is infinitesimal in comparison with all the 'unauthorised' litter blowing about to be chewed up by badgers, cows and fish.

 

The best containers I've seen in use was a screw-top 'biscuit barrel' sort of thing, and a very beefy plastic box in a camo drawstring bag. Taking inspiration from this, the last cache I placed used some 'urban' camouflage... a sock :blink:

 

SP :D

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We Grockles found a cache at the weekend... A nice, pristine ammo can. It had been carefully wrapped in a nice, new, shiny black plastic bin liner, pushed into it's hidey hole in a spiky bush and it had then cunningly disguised as litter by being covered with the shredded remains of a second black plastic bin liner :blink::D Needless to say, both bin liners came away from the cache site in my rucksack. There is just no need for that sort of covering. The olive drab ammo can was a lot less conspicuous without it's pac-a-mac that it was with it!!!

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I must admit I agree with most that black bin liner bags are just too frail to be of any use either as extra waterproofing or camouflage....but these modern green garden waste bags are really tough and their colour is excellent camouflage!

 

Like most I also dont see the need to cover ammo cases with anything other than some stones :D

It is unfortunate that the cost and availability of ammo boxes is difficult for most of us....aside from finding locations suitable to use them in :D

 

I very much prefer the ammo cases and it is always a pleasure not to have to worry about space as there is usually plenty in these containers....the only thing is usually inside town boundaries hiding an ammo case can be difficult....it would be great if everyone could emulate Chris who has the majority of his caches in ammo boxes....well done Chris :D

 

Also, I dont think cachers need worry to much about their caches being blown up by the bomb squad...unless they are silly enough to attempt to place an ammo box in the type of area where it might be a problem :blink:

 

Ullium.

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Surely £3-£5 can't be described as prohibitive and they can be found at any army surplus outlet. I bet every city has a surplus store somewhere.

 

However I have wondered about the potential 'worry' a non cacher might have stumbling over an ammo box in this terrorism filled world however all of the ones I have found have been clearly marked with both "www.Geocaching.com" and "Harmless contents".

 

Hehe I have even found clear tupperware containers with "Harmless Contents" written on :blink: .

 

The Hokesters...

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However I have wondered about the potential 'worry' a non cacher might have stumbling over an ammo box in this terrorism filled world however all of the ones I have found have been clearly marked with both "www.Geocaching.com" and "Harmless contents".

I really ought to do some work. Sod it, I’m an engineer so I can do as I ****** please :D . Oops wrong thread, hear we go then.

 

I found an ammo container just beyond the warning signs of an MoD range warning you not to touch anything suspicious or go beyond this point if red flags up etc.

Unfortunately the only markings on this box was that it contained some sort of grenade and its NATO stock number :blink: . My concern was communicated on the log.

This is obviously an extreme example but I do feel that it is important (particularly with ammo boxes) that we mark containers adequately.

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Surely £3-£5 can't be described as prohibitive and they can be found at any army surplus outlet. I bet every city has a surplus store somewhere

 

Wait until you are an old age pensioner and say that :D

 

The travelling expenses involved in pursuing this pastime are pushing me to the limit of my resources...never mind anything else :blink:

 

But for the kindness and thoughfulness of my family I couldn't have afforded most of the equipment I have.

 

Ullium.

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Fully understand and have sympathy with the desire for camouflage and attempts to keep a dry log book and cache contents , but are they good enough reasons to deliberately place polythene in places where creatures can chew and ingest he pieces ?.It can cause an internal blockage (as mentioned on my previous log )that can result in a painful death.This was told to me by experts in such matters.

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Yeh fair enough BugznElm'r :blink:

 

I take it you've never worked in a hotel kitchen?

 

But we're getting a bit off topic here....I'm sorry I mentioned it :D:D:D

 

Ullium.

Well, you did bring it up! :D

 

The bottom line is that a bag on the outside is unlikley to be of much use. Far better to put the contents in a bag and put that into the box.

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That s all Folks:

 

It can cause an internal blockage (as mentioned on my previous log )that can result in a painful death.This was told to me by experts in such matters.

 

Just because someone thinks they are an expert on a subject doesn't necessarily mean their opinion is any better than anyone else's on some occasions ... and personally I think this is one of those occasions....I have only once saw some evidence of plastic bag chewing by some rodent type animal in all the dozens of caches I have visited....and I seriously doubt it was in any danger of choking to death because of it .....also...as someone else pointed out ... one or two more plastic bags in the wild is a drop in the ocean to the amount that's scattered by litter bugs all over the place and if the wild life was seriously prone to choking to death on plastic bags I think there would have been more hue and cry about it before now!? :blink:

 

BugznElm'r:

 

yes I agree about log books being in plastic bags inside containers....and again I point out that the vast majority of them are never closed properly....mainly due to cachers leaving too much air in them and squeezing them back into the container...thereby unsealing them :D

 

Ullium.

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I have only once saw some evidence of plastic bag chewing by some rodent type animal in all the dozens of caches I have visited....and I seriously doubt it was in any danger of choking to death because of it ....

Strangly enough I found a cache in Penrith which had clear evidence of the tupperware box having been eaten by animals...no idea why as there was no food in it. Just thought I'd mention it as it doesn't really add anything to the argument either way.

 

I suppose at the end of the day if the land-owner is happy for you to use plastic bags thats fine.

 

Chris

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IMHO I think that to avoid bringing our sport / pastime / whatever into disrepute we should adopt best practice, even if the risks are unproven or very low. And as has been stated above the bin bag is not a particularly good method of protecting the cache from weather, and a can of spray paint soon sorts any camo issues.

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As Ulium says, most caches up in Scotland come wrapped up in some sort of plastic cover, and after my last big caching trek up north, finding wet caches in wet places, and dry caches in snug places, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that they aren’t necessary.

I think that it really is down to the quality of the hidey-hole and if we take more care to find a suitable place, the need for a cover doesn’t come into the equation.

Many cache hiders love their chosen location so much though, that they’ll choose an exposed hiding place rather than not place the cache at all.

 

Ps – who remembers Black Bag, the faithful border bin liner?

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After reading the above, I quite agree with the black bag scenario. I have not yet got into the army boxes yet, but I use the range of snap lock boxes from Lakeland......

 

To date no leaks, no dampness.... which isnt bad for North Yorkshire....

 

I must admit they are a bit bright, so I might have a try spraying them.... any idea's on paint ? Anyone done it ?

 

Just a point that I have found about plastic containers.... can people stop using cheap ones e.g. old ice cream cartons.... these are always the ones full of water with contents spoilt. A cache is supposed to be permament, so why not make it so.

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I must admit they are a bit bright, so I might have a try spraying them.... any idea's on paint ? Anyone done it ?

I've successfully sprayed 'tupperware' boxes. As with most things, preparation is the secret to success. Don't expect paint to stick to a new, plastic box. Rough up the surface with some 'wet & dry' paper and then clean it with a solvent cleaner (I used cellulose paint thinner) to remove the dust and any residue of moulding release agent. I used a matt black acrylic based aerosol paint from my local Wilkinsons. So far it's lasted very well.

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Ok I admit it I have recently placed two in Ice cream tubs which have had a respray.

 

Why

 

1. To try them and see if they are a succes in the locations I have placed them.

 

2. These would have other wise gone to Landfill and I want to see if they can have a useful life.

 

If they don't work I will replace them.

 

It won't be with ammo boxes though as my arthritic hands have a good deal of difficulty opening them

 

Cheers

 

Tony

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Sorry to bring this topic up again. Over the last few days we have done a bit of caching in North East England, and have found many caches wrapped up in bin bags. Nearly all of these varied between slightly damp and soaking wet inside. None of these were particularly pleasant to open, and many of the items were smelly and spoilt with damp.

 

I don't think it was even the owners who did this in the majority of cases, just well meaning visitors. In one log it even said something like, 'This cache was not in a bag, could the next visitor please bring a bin liner'.

 

I must add that there were also many great caches that were perfectly fine and not in bin bags.

 

Tigger

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I recently placed a new cache.... OK... not much to write home about there. This time, however, the box is inside a drawstring closed camouflage pattern bag. Not just any old camo fabric, though, these are 'waterproof'; at least, they're made from a waterproof fabric similar to the stuff that cheap rain-wear is made from. They're big enough to get a 2 litre 'Tupperware' box into and I even managed to get a small ammo can into one. I used them primarily as a disguise and very well they work too. The waterproof bit was just a bonus. I found them at my local surplus store and they cost £2 each.

 

What does the 'great un-washed'.... sorry, geocaching community think about that sort of bag....? Are they OK or are they just pretty bin liners?

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Pharisee wrote:

What does the 'great un-washed'.... sorry, geocaching community think about that sort of bag....? Are they OK or are they just pretty bin liners?

 

I've come across quite a few of these and they and their contents have almost always been ok. The one exception was one where the bag had been badly torn, perhaps by someone removing or replacing it. But as the container was properly waterproof anyway, it wasn't a problem.

 

I make my own cammo bags from an old tent... :huh:;)

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While out today doing a local cache I was shocked and dismayed to see black bags used exclusively on several caches which had been placed FAR too close together and in stupidly exposed locations. More than that, they were preposterously big. Gawd knows who placed them or how (if?) they got approved...

 

bags.jpg

 

SP :huh:

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<snip> a drawstring closed camouflage pattern bag. Not just any old camo fabric, though, these are 'waterproof'; at least, they're made from a waterproof fabric similar to the stuff that cheap rain-wear is made from. They're big enough to get a 2 litre 'Tupperware' box into and I even managed to get a small ammo can into one. <snip>

I love those bags. Sold as "STASH SACK" and they come in LARGE (12"), MEDIUM(10") and SMALL (8"). Marketed by 'Range Master' in Manchester.

 

2 litre Plastic lockable box fits snug in the Large. I bought my stash sack from the 'SURPLUS STORE' Winchester Street in Salisbury for £3.25.

 

A number of the Wombles caches use these bag and 2 litre tuppa box, always have been impressed by this style of cache.

 

The camo bag negats one's desire to paint the plastic box.

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I've been reading this topic with interest because I want to place my first (of hopefully many!) and can only hide a small regular in the location I want. I've got a small tupperware type box (not a lock lock one or whatever they're called - sorry HH!) and wasn't sure whether to bag the box for extra protection or not (wouldn't be a bin liner in any case - much too big for the box I've got). Perhaps I should just bag the contents instead then and hope that anyone who finds it will make sure it's sealed properly after they've finished. Or should I leave it until I can find a local supplier of the lock-lid boxes?

 

Wish I'd read Pharisees comments about spray paint before I did mine - although I did use a rather fetching (and camoflaging) shade of dark green! Next time I will prepare my plastic surface better!

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I've been reading this topic with interest because I want to place my first (of hopefully many!) and can only hide a small regular in the location I want. I've got a small tupperware type box (not a lock lock one or whatever they're called - sorry HH!) and wasn't sure whether to bag the box for extra protection or not (wouldn't be a bin liner in any case - much too big for the box I've got). Perhaps I should just bag the contents instead then and hope that anyone who finds it will make sure it's sealed properly after they've finished. Or should I leave it until I can find a local supplier of the lock-lid boxes?

 

Wish I'd read Pharisees comments about spray paint before I did mine - although I did use a rather fetching (and camoflaging) shade of dark green! Next time I will prepare my plastic surface better!

I would just put the items in the plastic box you have got in a zip lock type bag, we have found many caches like this, they are always sealed properly so you shouldn't have too much of a problem.

 

If you want info on stockist of the Lock and Locks mail order email us through our profile and I will give you the info I don't want to be accused of advertising.

 

Joan :blink::unsure:B):wacko::mellow:

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