What Can You Store in Plastic Barrels?

chemical plant plastic storage drums

Plastic barrels are versatile storage containers that help you keep shipping costs low. These bright blue vessels can be used to transport all kinds of products and materials, from food to industrial lubricants. Regardless of what industry you’re in, you can find at least one use for these handy containers. Learn how you can make the most of your plastic barrels and the benefits they provide.

Items Perfect for Plastic Barrels

You can store a wide variety of items in plastic barrels, including both dry and liquid products. While they’re not suitable for everything, they may be your only option if you’re looking to ship one of the items on this list:

  • Acids and Other Corrosive Materials: Corrosive materials like sodium hydroxide and nitric acid will wear away at metal drums and other types of storage containers. That’s why you need the security of plastic. Acids won’t eat away at plastic, so you can be sure your container and the liquid itself will remain intact during transportation.

aerial view plastic storage drums

  • Lubricants, Detergents, Coolants and Surfactants: If you’re in the business of transporting lubricants or other products susceptible to oxidation and reduction, you’ll need a nonreactive container like a 55-gallon plastic drum. The plastic won’t cause your materials to oxidize, so you won’t have to worry about the shipment arriving underweight. If you use another type of container, there’s a chance you might lose some of your product to oxidation along the way.
  • Food and Beverages: Plastic drums work well for food and beverages. Before you store your food products in a drum, make sure it has a food grade symbol, usually located on the bottom of the container. The FDA discourages the reuse of plastic containers when storing and transporting food, but there are some exceptions. Food products that are well-suited to plastic barrels include grains, herbs and dry goods like flour and sugar. Plastic tends to absorb the flavor and smell of food and beverages, so you may want to line the barrel unless you’re transporting water or other types of flavorless products.
  • Flammable Materials: Only certain types of plastic barrels can be used to transport flammable liquids like gas. You’ll need to check with the manufacturer to make sure the container is compatible with your products. If it is, your flammable materials will stay safe while in transit.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Need to ship a large quantity of pills? Plastic barrels prevent your pharmaceutical products from getting mashed or destroyed. They’re also leak-proof, so there’s no chance of water getting in and turning your pills to mush.

Benefits of Using Plastic Barrels

Plastic barrels are among the most cost-effective shipping containers on the market today. Here are just some of the benefits of going blue.

  • Durability: You don’t have to worry about your shipment getting damaged when you choose plastic. Many plastic barrels for sale are designed to keep products secure under pressure. You can knock over or drop the barrel, and your goods will still be intact.

blue plastic storage barrels

  • Reusability: You’re also free to reuse your plastic barrels, which helps you save money and reduce your impact on the environment. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the barrel after each use to prevent cross-contamination. If you’re storing food in the barrel, the smell might linger even after a thorough cleaning.
  • UV Resistance: Plastic is also UV resistant, so you won’t have to worry about the sun altering your products. However, the plastic will absorb heat if you leave your barrels out in the sun all day.
  • Leak-Proof Security: Don’t worry about your barrels springing a leak. They’re perfect for keeping liquids contained, so you can send your products out without causing a mess along the way, even if the shipment experiences a lot of movement in transit.
  • Low Cost: Overall, plastic barrels are affordable. Plastic is easier and cheaper to produce than glass, metal and other types of storage containers. You can use them repeatedly and get more than your money’s worth.


It’s easy to see why so many companies choose plastic barrels for their shipping and transportation needs. They’re designed to keep all kinds of products secure and air-tight. When you’re finished with a container, you can use it to store water in case of emergencies or for keeping equipment and supplies organized and out of the way. If you don’t have any use for your retired barrel and it’s been thoroughly cleaned and inspected, you can always donate it or resell it for some extra profit. Find the right type of barrel for your business and harness the power of plastic today.