WATCH YOUR POLY BUCKETS : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I recently outlined the dry-ice method of displacing oxygen in plastic containers for the purpose of preserving grains, etc.. I said to "get plastic pails from the paint department of your hardware store" BUT I've found out that if your buckets or pails are not FOOD GRADE poly, your stored food could be contaminated by nasty plastic outgassing that will not only make your food taste bad, but increase your risk of cancer too. I've just had to replace about 10 buckets of grain (I'm replacing the buckets, not the grain, because I don't think a few days exposure would hurt it, but use your own judgement). Here's a number for food-grade poly buckets: USP Plastic Corp. 1-800-537-9724 Or you can get these buckets used (usually rinsed but not washed)from places like ice-cream manufacturers, soft-drink companies, local restaurants, etc.. New USP pails are pretty cheap though - and come in many delightful colors.

Truly sorry for misinforming you all - you can still use your non-food buckets for watertight storage and burial of tools, dry goods, and other items.

An archived bulletin board discussion on this topic can be found on at

Best of Luck,


-- E. Coli (, July 29, 1998


I understand that food grade buckets have stamped on the bottom arrows in a circular pattern with a 2 in the center, are food grade buckets. I purchased mine at Home Base in the paint department. All mine are stamped with the food grade seal.

-- Bardou (, August 02, 1998.

I have cut and pasted a post from the GN Food Storage Forum:

"That number that you see in the triangle refers to what type of plastic it is made of....not whether it is or is not food grade. The number is used for the use of recyling. Food grade and non-food grade plastics may have the same numbers. "

The HDEP refers to the type of plastic being used. (High Density Extruded Polyethylene, I believe). The number refers primarily to the thickness of the plastic.

Either contact the bucket manufacturer or use a bucket that has previously been used for food if you want to be sure.

-- Rocky Knolls (, August 02, 1998.

Quote from the GN Food Storage Forum:

"That number that you see in the triangle refers to what type of plastic it is made of....not whether it is or is not food grade. The number is used for the use of recyling. Food grade and non-food grade plastics may have the same numbers."

The advice on that forum is to use buckets that have been FDA approved. This information is available from the manufacturer.....or can be assumed if you're using buckets that previously contained commercial food.

-- Rocky Knolls (, August 02, 1998.

Food grade, heavy duty plastic buckets can be obtained from many grocery store bakeries. Bakeries get these when they buy frosting, etc from food wholesalers. These are 5 gal. buckets. I can buy these for five bucks. Karen S..

-- karen shirer (, August 02, 1998.

You can get frosting buckets free from any supermarket deli. However, they are a real PAIN to clean...the "frosting" has something in it that appears to bond almost permanently to the plastic, even when "clean" they still smell...and attract roaches... yuk. Better to get pickle buckets or Feta cheese buckets from delis/health food shops Sadder and wiser

-- free Life (, August 03, 1998.

Hi there....I work in industrial and engineering plastics and so the last question caught my eye...whoever said the number doesn't mean that it is food-grade is exactly right. And it's HDPE, which stands for High Density Polyethylene, the only material the food grade buckets are made from. BUT they do have to be FDA approved food grade HDPE buckets--BIG difference. If ya'll knew the crap level that is allowed in the making of the plastic buckets that are not food grade AND how much of that stuff "outgasses" and leaches out you would be disgusted. And while the outgassing is not in great quantities at first, it DOES start the outgassing/leaching process immediately.

Also on another question someone was asking about the milk jugs a lot of drinking water comes in, and it is true that the HDPE those jugs are made out of breaks down over 1-2 years AND also outgasses into the water it is holding. This is probably not your first concern when all he** breaks loose on 1/1/2000, BUT I am not storing any water in those jugs..only soft drink type containers which are made out of TPE, which is a transparent, more rigid polyethylene and doesn't break down or outgas nearly as much/as quickly.

K. Heckert

-- K. Heckert (, October 15, 1998.

K.Heckert, what about juice containers? I've been saving my cranberry juice containers. Are they more like milk or more like pop plastic, do you know? Thanks for the info.

-- Tricia the Canuck (, October 15, 1998.

Hi EColi;

Thank you for the update on your earlier msg.

I appreciate the feddback - hopes everybody does the same when appropriate, or when something else is learned.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 15, 1998.

Question for K. Heckert,

Can the particles that leach into the water from the milk container type plastic be filtered out satisfactorily?

Thanks for the warning!


-- D.B.N. (, October 16, 1998.

Yoou can order FDA approved white pails w/ lids from Nasco Farm and Ranch catalogue. 1-800-558-9595. 5 gal. pail #CO5574N...$5.00 3 1/2 gal. pail #CO5575N...$4.15. Ordered some Monday and UPS just delivered today Friday. Good Luck and God Bless all!

-- Sylvia R. (Mom @, October 16, 1998.

As far as I know, the particles that leach out of the milk jug type containers (HDPE) cannot be filtered out, at least not without some serious technology. The particles are not big enough. I don't want to freak everyone out--you will not die from drinking from these containers or anything, but I figure now, while you have a choice, better to store water in the more rigid containers, which I made a mistake, by the way, in identifying. It is called PET, which stands for polyethylene theraphthalate. The trade name for this plastic is Vivak. This is the stuff the two liter soda bottles are made out of. You can tell the difference betw. HDPE and PET just by feel. Also HDPE cannot be made clear, the closest it comes is a milky color. Water stored in the HDPE jugs *should* be fine, but not after 1-2 years. Just my opinion. Kellie

-- K. Heckert (, October 16, 1998.


Since you have received no scientific reply to your query, I will say that I think (99.94% sure) that typical cranberry juice contains are PET (the long lasting stuff) plastic. If the container is a clone of the 'Ocean Spray' type container, crystal clear and very firm, it will most likely outlast you.

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 16, 1998.

I have been saving plastic milk jugs for potato flakkes, water, etc. also pepsi or any soda drink works nicely also. GEEEZZZZ.....reading all of this depresses me...i am sooo farrr behind, how long are you all saving for? I thought just a few weeks, any comments?

-- save (, October 16, 1998.

Thanks, Uncle. Between you and Kellie, you've relieved my mind. The jugs are clear plastic. Save, everyone must come to their own conclusions about how long chaos will last, and how much 'insurance' they are comfortable having. Personally, I plan on one year's food supply for every person in my family, plus water purifying supplies, plus a bit of water. Where I am in Canada, I don't think there are any January's on record as being without snow, so water is less a problem and heat is more. In fact, this weekend, my husband and I are scheduled to look at a cabin with two wood stoves, one for heating and one for cooking. It also has a propane stove, and two chemical toilets. The chief drawback is that the yard is very small - hard to grow a garden. Although we'll have supplies for a year, I want to be able to have fresh food, and to be able to go for 2 winters, if neccessary. How you choose to prepare will depend on where you are and how bad you think things will get, for how long. Best wishes for your stashing 8-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (, October 16, 1998.

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