Across the internet you can find companies offering IBC totes for sale. You can buy brand new totes that have never been used before. You can buy used totes that only need a good cleaning and some minor maintenance. You can even buy reconditioned totes that have been restored to like-new condition by recyclers. But what happens to used IBC totes companies no longer want?
Your typical IBC tote is a combination of plastic and metal. Fortunately, both materials can be recycled. Recycling the metal components is pretty straightforward. Recycling the plastic, not so much. Plastic components must be clean and uncontaminated. You also have to find a company willing to recycle them. That is not always easy.
Food-Grade IBC Totes
If you see a company advertising food-grade IBC totes for sale, you are looking at something slightly different. As with everything else in food production and storage, food-grade IBC totes must meet higher standards for hygiene, cleanliness, construction, and materials. A food-grade tote both protects contents from contamination and does not contribute to contamination itself.
You can buy brand new food-grade IBC totes from companies like Cedar Stone Industry out of Houston, Texas. Finding used ones is a little more difficult due to the strict requirements attached to them. When a food-grade tote can no longer be utilized, it is either recycled, repurposed, or disposed of.
A Variety of Uses
Every IBC food tote eventually reaches its commercial end of life. Then what? It is not a given that unusable totes will end up in a landfill. A lot of them do not. They get repurposed for all sorts of applications. Here are just a few of them:
Farm Storage – IBC totes have to meet certain standards in order to be used commercially. But those standards do not apply once a tote is taken out of service. That makes them ideal candidates for farm storage. All sorts of liquids and solids that do not require food-grade protection can be safely stored in used totes.
Rainwater Collection – More than one homeowner has invested in a couple of used IBC totes with the intention of using them to collect rainwater. The rainwater is used for gardening and irrigation purposes. IBC totes work extremely well for this sort of thing.
Contractor Needs – Home service contractors have been known to put used IBC totes back into service. Take a contractor who offers power washing services, for example. A used IBC tote makes a perfect water receptacle as long as it doesn’t leak.
Home Gardening – Even home gardeners find plenty of good uses for used IBC totes. They make ideal compost receptacles. They can be used to store everything from mulch to crushed stone. Even winter sand and ice melt can be stored safely in a used tote.
The possibilities for repurposing IBC totes are virtually endless. As long as a tote still has enough integrity to support its new use, there are very few limits. And because the totes have to be taken out of commercial service at the first sign of not meeting federal standards, a lot of the used totes sold by recyclers still have plenty of life left in them.
IBC totes have to be manufactured to rigorous standards in order to be used commercially. As a result, they tend to still be usable even after they have to be taken out of commercial surface. That is why you see so many companies offering used IBC totes for sale. You can do a lot with them if you can think outside the box.