Obtaining food storage buckets was the next step in my storage project. As you guys know from my last article on Mylar bags, I am starting a small project of storing and additional 10 five gallon buckets of dried food. This is a project that I am doing with “Marine Pal”, whom I haven’t mentioned in a while. We are doing this as cheaply as possible due to the fact that we both have families, meaning there’s not a lot income to invest in projects. So, we do what we can when we can.
The next step in the process was obtaining food safe buckets or containers. What does it mean for a container to be “food safe”? If you use standard five gallons buckets, like from the kind from the large chain stores, they could be unsuitable for food storage. Make sure the buckets are safe for food storage before you purchase them. From information that I have gathered, the “general use” buckets that are incredibly cheap that come with a lid may have products used in its production that could taint your food with carcinogens. Over time this could be harmful to your body.
You may be asking, “Why use a bucket at all?” The buckets are mainly used to protect the food from rodents and insects. You would hate to invest in the bags and the food, only to find a corner of the bag chewed off and mice droppings all over it. Remember that episode of Little House on the Prairie, when half the town nearly died from the rats contaminating the stored flour? You want to avoid that.
But buying food storage buckets at retail prices can be fairly expensive. I have recently figured out that I can obtain all the food safe buckets that I can handle for either free or $1.00 a bucket. I’m sharing this tip with you so you don’t waste a lot of money.
I started my bucket quest last week. First I called my local supermarket chain here in the east (Food Lion). With one phone call asking to speak to the deli or bakery, I asked what they do with their empty 5 gallon buckets. Usually a bakery’s cake frosting and donut creme will be shipped in large food safe buckets. Bakery lady said, “We either throw them away or give them away if someone needs them.” Ma’am, how do I get on your list for the buckets?” “Well, honey, I have a five gallon and two 15lb buckets sitting right here if you want them.” “I’m on my way, bakery lady!”
But I still needed more. In my county, there are several supermarkets. We have Food Lion, Food City, Kroger and two Wal-Marts. With a couple more phone calls, Marine Pal and I were able to secure all the buckets that we can handle. It may take us a couple weeks to get the specific sizes that we need. One supermarket told us to come get all we want, various sizes with lids. If we run out, give us a couple days and we will keep them for you. Walmart’s policy will vary from store to store. I spoke to one store that told me that I could have as many as I want, but its $1.00 a bucket, at any size. The lids are included. The person I spoke to at the other location said that as long as I asked the manager, they would save the buckets for me.
So there you go guys, either free food safe buckets are buckets for as little as $1.00. Either way, they are going to throw them away or give them to someone else; why not get some for yourself?