Free 5 Gallon Buckets

bucket stackThe 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.

  • Bakeries
  • Delis
  • Construction sites
  • Supermarkets
  • Coffee Shops
  • Farm Stores
  • Soap Makers.
  • Restaurants
  • Wine Making Stores
  • Kitty Litter
  • School Cafeterias
  • Craigslist & UsedEverywhere
  • Car Washes
  • Buffets

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.

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65 thoughts on “Free 5 Gallon Buckets

  1. Find someone that works at a corrugated box plant. The five gallon buckets are not food grade but they use hundreds of them a month from water based inks.

    • Check with pool maintenance companies – especially the mom&pop pool maintenance places. The Chlorine tablets that they use come in 5 gal buckets. Rinse the buckets out really well, but they are *totally* sanitary once you do!

    • house painters get paint in 5 gal buckets. when the latex based paint dries it peals out like a latex glove and leaves a clean bucket.

  2. Need 30 5 gallon buckets for softball and tball teams. Please email me and let me know if you have any available and how/where I can get them.
    Thank you

  3. I’ve got just over 10,000 buckets I need to just get rid of for free. At-least 5,000 are food grade 5 gal but the rest are a mix of 5 gal non-food grade and smaller sizes. No hazmat ones though. Contact me.

  4. Rich Mogansen,
    I’m looking for FOOD GRADE 5 gallon buckets. I would like as many as I could get ahold of.

    Could you please tell me how to get some of them from you?

    My contact E-mail is: [email protected]

    Thank YOU Rich!

  5. I am in the epoxy installation and I used 5 gallons pail and would like where I can get them for free pick up or pay 50c for each pail if I have to wash it. I need about 500 pails a years you

  6. Live in central ohio. If anyone could spare about 20-50, it would be the best help. Hubby is truck driver and could meet someone at truck stop on his run if responses.
    Thank you and Have a Blessed Day.

  7. Live in central ohio. If anyone could spare about 20-50, it would be the best help. Hubby is truck driver and could meet someone at truck stop on his run if responses.
    Thank you and Have a Blessed Day.
    ([email protected])

  8. If you have I just need 2 with lids if possible, I’m looking for some thats ultra smooth inside for delicate and silk. My washing machine has ruined two of my delicate clothes and I am very angry with it. I can make a cheap and manual clothes washer with a bucket and a plunger. Unable to find anything I need at my local hardware stores maybe have something?

  9. I am in need of 50 – 75 5 gallon plastic buckets for a children’s grief camp activity. I am located in Annapolis Maryland. Please contact me if you can help us out. Thank you

  10. I am in need of 50 – 75 5 gallon plastic buckets for a children’s grief camp activity. I am located in Annapolis Maryland. Please contact me if you can help us out. Thank you

  11. We are in Odessa TX and are in need of some pails. Can someone please email me? We need quite a few with the lids. Thanks!

  12. Good morning!
    I would like to get 18 of your free buckets, square ones, to support a dressage arenna fence with pvc pipe between them.
    Thank you for your time!

  13. I need to get 50, 5-gallon food grade containers for a self-watering project for charity. Please advise how to get them. Thank you,

  14. We have 300 – 500 used – clean 5 gallon buckets that need to get rid of soon. These are completely free but you must come pick up. Located in Houston, TX. Please contact me if interested [email protected]

  15. What like to see how much a skid 100-200 5gal pals would cost. They are going to be used for used parts storage. Please contact Bill Bohle or Scott Chabot [email protected] with a quote on above quantity if ez lids are available please include cost also. Scott Chabot

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