What Is an IBC Tote? What Industries Are They Used For, Where to Buy Them, and More

What Is an IBC Tote? What Industries Are They Used For, Where to Buy Them, and More

What Is an IBC Tote

In an interconnected world, the proper operation of the product supply chain is essential for maintaining the seamless flow of global commerce. Your business provides value to its clientele, and efficiency can boost your market position.

Innovations in the ability to transport goods quickly, efficiently and safely make buying quality pallet containers, carts, and IBC totes essential in the efficient transportation of goods.

What Is an IBC Tote?

So, you’re interested in enhancing the transport of your goods using this flexible container type. You want to take advantage of the financial and practical advantages of this adaptable, multi-use option. What is an IBC tote?

IBC totes, also known as intermediate bulk containers, are large reusable containers for storing and transporting liquids and dry goods. Typically made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), IBC totes have a capacity of 1,000 liters or 275 gallons, making them ideal for storing and transporting large volumes of material. IBC totes are often used in the food and beverage industry for storing and transporting liquids such as milk and juice, as well as in the chemical industry for hazardous materials.

What Is an IBC Tote quote

IBC totes are frequently used in the construction industry for storing and transporting concrete. These totes are typically stacked on top of each other when not in use, making them very spatially efficient. When empty, IBC totes weigh approximately 40-60 pounds. Full IBC totes can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They are designed to be reused multiple times; however, they can also be recycled at the end of their useful lives.

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A Brief History

Predecessors to the IBC tote were invented in the early 20th century in response to a need for more efficient shipping containers. Early versions were made of wood and were used primarily for transporting coal. In the 1930s, steel containers were introduced, quickly becoming the standard for shipping dry goods and liquids.

The first polyethylene totes were introduced in the 1960s, and they quickly gained popularity due to their durability and light weight. Today, IBC totes are made from various materials, including plastic, steel, and aluminum, and they are used for a wide range of applications, from food storage to chemical transport.

IBC totes in their present form were invented in 1992 by Olivier J. L. D’Hollander. D’Hollander was working at Dow Corning S.A., a Dutch company, at the time. Dow Corning is a manufacturer of sealants, solvents, and adhesives, making developing a flexible transport method such as the IBC tote a valuable addition to its logistics.

Types of IBC Totes

IBC totes vary based on several factors that stem from the purpose of the container’s use.


IBC totes are available in a variety of sizes, with the most common being the 275-gallon size. These totes measure 40 inches wide by 48 inches long and have a weight capacity of 2,200 pounds. IBC totes are also available in 330- and 450-gallon sizes. These larger containers measure 45 inches wide by 48 inches long and can hold 2,600 and 4,000 pounds, respectively. In addition, IBC totes feature a stackable design that makes them easy to store and transport.


IBC totes are typically made from one of three materials: polyethylene (PE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), or steel. Each material has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when choosing an IBC container.

PE IBCs are the most lightweight option and can be easily maneuverable when empty. They are also resistant to various chemicals and won’t rust or corrode. However, PE IBCs can be damaged by UV light and are not as strong as HDPE or steel containers.

HDPE IBCs are more durable than PE containers and can withstand higher temperatures. They are also UV resistant and won’t rust or corrode. However, HDPE IBCs are more expensive than PE IBCs.

Steel IBCs are the heaviest option but are also the most durable. They can withstand high temperatures and are resistant to a variety of chemicals. Steel containers will not rust or corrode, but they can be susceptible to damage from impact.

Food-Grade vs. Non-Food-Grade IBC Totes

IBC totes are available in both food-grade and non-food-grade options. The main difference between the two is the materials used in construction.

Food-grade IBC totes are made from FDA-approved materials that are safe for contact with food and beverage products. In addition, food-grade IBC totes must be cleaned and sanitized before use whereas non-food-grade IBC totes do not need to be cleaned before use.

Non-food-grade IBC totes are not made from FDA-approved materials and should never be used for food or beverage applications. 

When choosing an IBC tote for your application, be sure to select the proper grade to ensure safety and compliance with regulations.

What Industries Are IBC Totes Used In

What Industries Are IBC Totes Used In?

One of the benefits of using IBC totes is that they can be reused multiple times, which helps to reduce waste and save money.

Understanding the needs of each specific industry allows decision-makers to choose the proper type of IBC tote for products. Looking at the transport specifications of some critical industries can lead logistics professionals to the right choice.

Food and Beverage Industry

Due to the nature of perishable food products, the food and beverage industry has specific transport requirements that must be met to ensure the safety and quality of the items being transported. For example, food and beverage products can spoil, causing health issues if consumed and thus requiring temperature-controlled transport to maintain their freshness. In addition, many food and beverage products are delicate and require careful handling to avoid damage.

As a result, the food and beverage industry typically relies on specialized transportation companies with the necessary equipment and expertise to meet these demands. These companies often have refrigerated trucks and warehouses that can house food totes and maintain the proper temperature for food and beverage products, as well as the ability to handle delicate items with care.

IBC totes fulfill these specialized transportation requirements and businesses in the food and beverage industry can be confident that their products will arrive safe, fresh, and undamaged.

Chemicals Industry

The chemicals industry is subject to stringent transport regulations due to the nature of the products it deals with. All chemicals must be properly labeled and packaged to avoid spillage or contamination. In addition, transportation methods must be carefully chosen in order to minimize the risk of accidents.

The most common method of transporting chemicals is by road, but rail and sea transport are also used. In all cases, it is essential that the vehicles used are in good condition and that the drivers are properly trained. Furthermore, all transport must be planned in advance to minimize the risk of disruptions.

By following these guidelines, the chemicals industry can ensure that its products are transported safely and efficiently. IBC totes meet the regulatory requirements for the transport of chemicals, as long as the containers are properly cleaned and maintained to avoid residue from previous products affecting the safety and quality of subsequent cargo.

Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry is subject to many transport specifications due to the nature of the products being transported. These include temperature-controlled vehicles and packaging, as well as specialized handling requirements.

In addition, pharmaceutical companies must adhere to all relevant local, national, and international laws and regulations. As a result, they must work closely with their logistics partners to ensure they meet all transport specifications. This can help ensure that products arrive at their destinations in perfect condition and are not subject to any delays or damage during transit.

The range of IBC tote types covers the needs of pharmaceutical companies looking to transport their drugs worldwide. Whether medication needs to maintain a specific temperature or strict batch tracking needs to be kept, IBC totes are ideal for the job.

Fragrance Industry

The perfume industry is a multi-billion-dollar business that relies on the transport of products all over the world. To ensure that these products are transported safely and securely, there are several specifications that companies must meet.

First, all fragrance products must be packed in compliant packaging. This means the packaging must be designed to prevent leakage and protect the product from damage. Second, all fragrance products must be shipped using registered mail or a similar service. This ensures that the product can be tracked and traced throughout the shipping process. Finally, all fragrance products must be shipped with an MSDS. This document provides information about the hazards associated with the product and how to handle and dispose of it safely. 

By adhering to these transport specifications, the fragrance industry can ensure that its products are safe and secure during transit. IBC totes meet all of the challenges necessary for properly transporting fragrances.

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Attachments and Fittings That Can Enhance IBC Tote Functionality

IBC totes are versatile storage options for many businesses, but there are a few attachments and fittings that can enhance their functionality. For example, adding casters to an IBC tote can make it easier to move around, and adding a spigot can make it simpler to dispense liquids.

Attaching a lid to an IBC tote can help keep contents clean and dry. There are many other attachments and fittings that can be used with IBC totes, so it is essential to consult with an expert to find the best option for your needs. With the right attachments and fittings, businesses can customize IBC totes to meet the specific needs of their products.

IBC Tote Identification and Tracking

IBC tote identification and tracking is a system that uses RFID tags to identify and track intermediate bulk containers. IBC tote identification and tracking help ensure that IBCs are properly labeled and tracked throughout their journeys.

Identification and tracking can also be used to monitor the contents of IBCs, ensuring they are not contaminated or spoiled.

Innovations in information technology are extending tracking ability to the consumer, allowing businesses the ability to offer greater transparency to their audiences. Blockchain solutions are innovating the way companies transport goods, and IBC totes are ideal for leveraging these advancements.

An additional benefit of IBC tote identification and tracking systems is that they can be used to track the movement of IBCs within a facility, making it easier to locate them when they are needed.

IBC Tote Shipping and Storage

One advantage of using IBC totes is that they can be easily stacked and stored when not in use. IBC totes are designed to be reusable, making them a more sustainable option than disposable containers. As a result, IBC totes are an essential piece of equipment for any business that stores or ships large quantities of liquid products.

Where to Buy IBC Totes

Where Can You Buy IBC Totes?

If you are looking for a flexible solution, finding a reliable IBC tote supplier is your best option. At Container Exchanger, we have a constant supply of a wide variety of IBC totes available for all your raw materials and product needs.

On our website, you can learn how to buy IBC totes safely and affordably. Those looking to sell containers can also find valuable information about how to find a buyer quickly and without hassle.

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Choose the Best Shipping Option for Your Needs

IBC totes are stackable, durable, and can be used to store anything from construction materials to chemicals. At the Container Exchanger, you can also find pallet containers, metal bins with lids, and 55-gallon drums.

If you’re looking for a versatile and convenient way to store and transport large quantities of materials and products, the IBC totes you will find at the Container Exchange can accommodate your logistics needs.

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