The most interesting fact I’ve ever learned about five gallon plastic buckets is that In the third world, they are so valuable that it would be unthinkable to drill holes in one! Lucky for us, five gallon buckets are so cheap and ubiquitous in the western world that they can usually be picked up for free.
Here are just a few places to check for 5 gallon buckets. Usually, people working in these places get regular requests for their used buckets, and will not think your request strange at all. Call beforehand to save yourself a trip.
- Construction sites
- Coffee Shops
- Farm Stores
- Soap Makers.
- Wine Making Stores
- Kitty Litter
- School Cafeterias
- Craigslist & UsedEverywhere
- Car Washes
If you obtain a bucket from a source that is not involved in food, like a gas station or hardware store for example, make sure your bucket is food grade HDPE (high density poly ethylene) before using it for food purposes.
Many of the above free bucket sources also will have smaller buckets available. If you grab those too, you won’t be dissapointed! It’s great having a variety of sizes to fit various uses. Check out this great 1 gallon bread box, for example.
I purchase cheap used buckets from a bulk soap retail company. See our buying 5 gallon buckets article for more on buying buckets.