How to Reuse a 55 Gallon Drum

A 55-gallon drum provides many opportunities for reuse.
A 55-gallon drum provides many opportunities for reuse. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

With the rising popularity of environmental sustainability, the lifespan of a 55-gallon drum often goes well beyond its initial use. The durability of both steel and plastic drums provides many opportunities for reuse. These drums are commonly used for the storage of industrial products, and are frequently available for free or at a low cost from a variety of sources.

Find a used 55-gallon drum that hasn't been used for hazardous materials. Check with soda bottling plants, car washes and farm supply stores for availability. Reconditioned food-grade drums can also be found for sale online.

Check the drum for leaks or other damage. If the drum has holes or cracks, it won't hold liquids and any new uses for it could be limited.

Clean the 55-gallon drum by rinsing it three times with water, using the hose and pressure nozzle. Don't leave any residue inside or on the drum's surface.

Choose a new use for the drum, such as a rain barrel or a composting bin. You can connect multiple plastic drums to create a floating dock.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check with your local government if you decide not to complete a reuse project. Many will accept clean, nonhazardous drums for recycling.
  • Don't use a drum if you can't determine its previous use.

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