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White 5 Gallon Buckets... Food Grade?

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Hillbilly Bill

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Ok... I know we are supposed to use only "food grade" plastic containers... and I know that almost (if not all) used food grade buckets that you get from restuarants (man those dumpsters are hard to climb out of) are white.
Question: Are the white buckets that the hardware stores sell food grade? I called my local hardware store and asked them... they said they did not know, but they did know that the black buckets were not food grade.
Input?
 

Tom

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Look for HDPE on the bottom of the bucket. That should be food grade.
 

cpfan

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Look for HDPE on the bottom of the bucket. That should be food grade.
I don't think that HDPE guarantees Food Grade. HDPE is a type of plastic, and I believe that there are MANY formulations of HDPE.

The following is my recollection of a forum post a couple of years ago. Ropak, a Canadian manufacturer of pails, was asked about some of their pails. Their response was specific to certain pails, and ONLY the white ones were food grade.

I don't believe that his can be generalized to all manufacturers. Despite what is treated as 'common knowledge' by people on the 'net.

Steve
 

Tom

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The HDPE is the only plastic that will not leach chemicals in the wine. I disagree about the color. There is a gray BRUTE HDPE bucket that I know is used as a fermentor.
 

smurfe

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I doubt very much you will get an answer form them. You would probably have to get that answer from the manufacturer. This can be tough to do though as the contact info is rarely on the container. What I do is normally look for an HDPE symbol on the container and use it. Here is an article though that stresses that not all HDPE plastic is indeed food grade. It even lists articles to avoid including the white plastic buckets at a hardware store. I will say though that I have used buckets they say not to use such as the kitty litter buckets. I use at my own risk though.

Read these and compare what you read to the symbols on the buckets and you should have your answer. Make sure to read the controversy about the re-use of PET plastic which everyone assumes is the ideal plastic to use. These articles state not to re-use PET plastic. Also remember that the Better Bottles many of use use and insist one uses over a water cooler plastic carboy are indeed made of PET plastic. We know those work great so who do you believe?

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/plastics.html#foodgrade

http://suchismitamajumder.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/how-plastic-grading-works/
 

cpfan

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The HDPE is the only plastic that will not leach chemicals in the wine. I disagree about the color. There is a gray BRUTE HDPE bucket that I know is used as a fermentor.
My comment was based on Ropak's response to somebody asking about a specific Ropak bucket. They do not make Rubbermaid Brutes. And just because they are "used as a fermenter" does not make them food grade.

Steve
 

cpfan

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Smurfe:

In one of the discussions of PET plastic, somebody posted a link to a list of 'different' PET plastics. Hundreds (maybe even a thousand) formulations. Each with it's own specific properties.

Just steps away from me are two different brands of water bottles. Both have the '1' PET recycling code. One is a flimsy plastic that 'crinkles' when pressed. The other (Aquafina from Pepsi), a thicker, stronger plastic. My Better Bottles are made of an even thicker, stronger plastic. Easy for me to believe that they have much different properties. Yet all three are PET.

The discussions about the various plastics has been going on for years on this and other wine making forums. I do not believe that a simple generalization can be made that 'xxx' plastic is good/bad because of the number of different formulations.

As I understand it, food grade plastic contains no recyled material whatsoever. It is new plastic with approved additives (including colours, I imagine) only. As a result it is more expensive. So the 'cheap' buckets in the hardware store (no matter what colour/plastic) are not food grade.

And we haven't even discussed how this plastic behaves when in contact with alcohol.

Steve
 

Hillbilly Bill

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Wow...Looks like I'm gonna have to forget about saving a dollar and go for the good stuff... unless I can find a restuarant or diner that can help me out.
 

Tom

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William,
Both CP and Smurf are right. I look at it as "Why take the chance". I think all of us woulsd say "buyer beware".
Get an approved bucket and you will not have to "toss" a good batch of wine.
 

Wade E

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Id feel fine about using 1 for a primary if they were white, had the HDPE and had a #1 or #2 on it, anything lower then that and id leave it for something else.
 

Hillbilly Bill

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Tom... you won't see this old Hillbilly tossing any wine... good or bad. You should taste some of the "likker" I've drank over the years. Of course, I'm more selective now... I put it in a real glass before I hold my nose and turn it up.
Just kidding... you are absolutely right. I'm going to the homebrew store this weekend and get some more buckets, carboys, and airlocks.
 

cpfan

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Wade:

HDPE means recycle code #2. IE they mean the same thing. So I hope you never find one that says HDPE and #1.

BTW, if you are picking up a used pail, make sure that you know what was stored in it. Food stuffs should be OK (except pickles) but cleaners? Beware.

Steve
 

Hillbilly Bill

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Id feel fine about using 1 for a primary if they were white, had the HDPE and had a #1 or #2 on it, anything lower then that and id leave it for something else.
Wade... now look what you did... I turned the bucket upside down to see if it was food grade and all of the wine must spilled out on the floor.
Wow... that would be a nightmare, wouldn't it? I am going to be very careful what type of buckets I use in the future.
 

Hillbilly Bill

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Wade:

HDPE means recycle code #2. IE they mean the same thing. So I hope you never find one that says HDPE and #1.

BTW, if you are picking up a used pail, make sure that you know what was stored in it. Food stuffs should be OK (except pickles) but cleaners? Beware.

Steve
Will do... thanks Steve.
 

Tom

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Tom... you won't see this old Hillbilly tossing any wine... good or bad. You should taste some of the "likker" I've drank over the years. Of course, I'm more selective now... I put it in a real glass before I hold my nose and turn it up.
Just kidding... you are absolutely right. I'm going to the homebrew store this weekend and get some more buckets, carboys, and airlocks.
My son lives in N. Carolina and said he will bring up some special "local moonshine" when he comes up in December.
I bet you know where to get sum ...
 

Hillbilly Bill

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My son lives in N. Carolina and said he will bring up some special "local moonshine" when he comes up in December.
I bet you know where to get sum ...
You can bet your bippie... and I'm talking pure stuff... 190 proof run from a sugar wash in a 15.5 gallon keg with a reflux tower on top. If I can only remember where I saw that contraption.
Last N.C. shine I had was so bad the guy had to put apples in it to smooth it out. Shame.
 

Wade E

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Almost every plastic is actually food grade and used to hold food with the exception of #7 here. Even recycled plastics can be food grade as long as certain FDA protocols are followed. don't think there's an issue using any HDPE buckets for brewing as long as you're sure what was previously in them.

1 PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) some waterproof packaging
2 HDPE (high density polyethylene) Milk, detergent and oil bottles, toys and plastic bags
3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) Food wrap, vegetable oil bottles, bubble wrap
4 LDPE (low density polyethylene) Many plastic bags, shrink wrap, garment bags
5 PP (polypropylene) Refrigerated containers, some bags, most bottle tops, some carpets, some food wrap
6 PS (polystyrene) Throwaway utensils, meat packaging, protective packaging
7 Other (mixed plastics) No recycling potential - must be landfilled.
(Society of the Plastics Industry - SDI)
 

Hillbilly Bill

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I have always been careful with my brewing, and I think I'll just get some buckets that I can be sure about... tell me about your Zinfandel from grapes. I almost married the girl who introduced me to Zinfandel... good thing I didn't... she's rich... would have been a b**ch trying to live with her and all of that $$$.
 
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arcticsid

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I've been using a 5 gallon mayo bucket since day one. Don't know why, but after I brought it home( Iwashed it twice through the dishwasher at the restaurant first) I poured a box of Baking Soda in there and filled it with boiling water. Rinsed it good and have been using it everysince. It is only for a primary, so obviously it nots going to hold anything for long, for a secondary, I would be absolutely sure you use something designed for alcohol, Better Bottles, etc.

Soo..I brew in a bucket and drink from a mason jar. I may be part hillbilly myself!!!

Troy
 

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