Saturday, August 6, 2011

Plastic Buckets*

Many people believe that all buckets are created equal. Well nothing could be further from the truth. There are many cheap utility buckets out there and these buckets dominate the superstores because these stores are driven solely for profit and not offering quality products. Unfortunately many prepper’s use these cheap buckets to store their long term foods in. A risky decision unless you also use sealed Mylar bags inside these buckets.

When it comes to spending (investing) money in long term food storage buckets you must think hard about what you are doing. Bottom line is you’re storing food to either save food budget money or save your lives after a major disaster event. Buy quality buckets.

Here’s what happened to me yesterday:
I purchased several utility buckets from Wal-Mart about 6 months ago for washing my truck and other garden bucket needs. I didn’t notice any issues with them until yesterday when I was washing the garage floor and I noticed the bucket was leaking from the bottom. These buckets are made in Ohio, .070 wall thickness (quality buckets are .090 thick) and molded of #2 HDPE plastic. Most people would think these buckets would be fine for food storage. Well maybe not these buckets!

It is difficult for my camera to photograph inside a white bucket but I think you can see the problem. It is a crack right through one of the three gates used to mold this bucket. A gate is where the molten plastic is first injected into the mold to form the bucket. In this mold there are 3 gates. This is a good design, however it was a very sloppy job of mold processing and the result is a worthless cracked bucket! This crack happened all by itself, not from use or abuse. It was caused by molded-in-stress in the plastic at the site of the gate. Molded-in-stress is the result of poor plastic processing along with poor quality control. How many bad buckets have been sold like this one? Probably hundreds.

Photo of the inside of the bucket.

A close-up photo of the crack.

If I would have stored wheat, rice, beans or any food in this bucket without first sealing it in a Mylar bag I would have useless mold or bug infested food.

When storing bulk dry food without using Mylar bags only use top quality containers, your life could depend on your choice!

I don’t recommend buying cheap buckets from Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes or other big box stores for your survival food storage containers. The success of your food storage depends on quality containers.

I always use Mylar bags inside my buckets and recommend you do the same. Mylar is inexpensive and assures your food will be safely stored for years to come.


  1. Good post, and very true about the buckets...they are not all made equal. Mylar should be used even if the bucket is solid, as the plastic of even the .09 buckets 'breathe' and pass air through. Plus, if you use oxygen absorbers without a bag, you can stress and crack your bucket.

    If you ever need any Mylar/Absorbers or other supplies, I hope you'll give us a visit at We have some great 1 and 2 gallon buckets...high quality with the real metal handles and gasket lids.

    /Salesman off

    Thanks and good luck!

  2. This morning I came across your blog through another one I follow. I went ahead and hit your follow button because I like what you are talking about here. I get all my buckets for free. At every store I go to, I always ask the bakery department if they have any and most of the time I walk out with three or four 2 1/2 to 5 gallon buckets with gasket lids. After I get them home, I wash and then line them with a heavy plastic bag before filled with food. So far no problems yet.
    My storage for a family of five is up to about a year except for water and toilet paper.

    Check me out at

    Thanks for the read.

  3. Tobias,
    You are correct, plastic buckets do breath and not many people know that. I also use and recommend to everyone to use Mylar in all bucket storage.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    My son lives a few miles NE of Dallas and I don't know how all of you put up with the 100+ heat for so many days. How do you grow a garden there?


  4. Thanks for the reply Yukon Mike,
    This is the worse summer. I have been right here for 40 years and can only remember one summer in 1980 that was hotter longer. We are close to that record now.

    As for the gardens, I have five big raised bed gardens and finally threw in the towel two weeks ago. Most of the summers it at least rains every now and then. I could not put enough water on them this year to keep them alive. I finally just turned the chickens out on them and now started planning for the fall.
    High winds and major storms this year destroyed my corn, peppers and most of the tomatoes plants. I had to go into panic mode and start buying processed canned and box foods to restock and replace what the fresh produce usually does.
    We have also had some animal losses this year too.
    I am about 1 1/2 hours North of Dallas. I hope your son is fairing better than we are.
    Thanks again for the reply,

  5. MDR,
    Sorry to hear about your garden losses, maybe you can get a second season in if it cools off and starts raining for you. A failed garden can be a real disaster for a self-reliant person who is counting on the harvest to live from.
    Read through some of your older posts and read about your water well saga, hope all is well with the well :-). Just wondering how deep it is and has it ever gone dry do to over pumping like trying to keep a garden alive?

  6. Mike,
    The well is only 250 feet deep. During the summer months other wells out in this area do run dry. We have been lucky enough for that not to happen. We conserve the water table as best we can by using our rain water that was harvested during the rainy season for garden and animal watering. The one problem with that is we have a limited amount of water storage and if it does not rain then we run the risk of running out of water in the tanks. Just like the well going down. We had already used most of the stored water trying to conserve the well and it went down anyway leaving us without hardly any water stored. I figured it out and I would need a storage capacity of about 50,000 gallons for a year. Right now all I have is 3,100.
    Thanks for the question,