Something that is sometimes forgotten, however, is that these barrels are reusable. Reusing plastic barrels not only saves money, it helps the environment by making use of the “Three R’s” of the EPA: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Used plastic barrels may be ordered online, or found in person at bulk suppliers. Such suppliers are often found in rural areas, where customers may be interested in using their barrels for bulk storage of such items as feed and sap. They may also serve as feed barrels for deer, horses or other animals. Used plastic barrels are a wonderful resource for rainwater collection and harvesting.
They are not, however, generally recommended for the storage of human drinking water or food for human consumption, because of the risks associated with cross-contamination and cross-contact. Used plastic barrels also make excellent compost bins because the high-density polyethylene with which they are made holds up very well against weather and chemical-related corrosion.
Along these lines, these barrels are also well-suited to recycling and garbage disposal. Large collection barrels such as these are often used at parks, festivals, carnivals and other crowded outdoor events and public spaces. For these purposes, they may be topped with an accessory like a plastic recycling lid. Used plastic barrels also make the perfect flotation device for a dock, provided the barrels remain sealed airtight.
Depending on what was previously in the barrel, a used plastic barrel may be an appropriate container for chemicals or oils. However, it should be noted that used plastic barrels are not generally FDA approved for the storage of pharmaceuticals.
Specific information about a barrel may be found using its UN code, if one is available or provided. Used plastic barrels should be triple washed and leak checked before use by a consumer. Also, if a barrel has an odor or residue from its previous life, it should be rinsed again. With the proper care, plastic barrels may be repurposed again and again, ensuring a good investment for the consumer and better health for the earth.