How to Recycle Used IBC Totes

Posted by ReUsed USA
On October 28, 2022


Intermediate Bulk Containers also commonly know as IBC Totes are industrial containers used in variety of industries such as chemical, fertilizer, food manufacturing businesses.These totes are too large and valuable to just throw away. Often times they must be disposed of responsibly due previous contents being hazmat or dangerous chemicals. It is important adhere to local and federal environmental regulations.

So, how do you dispose of them? Most of the time its as simple as contacting the company that sold them to you, these totes are very expensive and most of the time they would be happy to take them off yours hands. Mauser and Schuetz both offer tote recycling programs. They must be in acceptable condition and empty or they may change you! Here are the steps to take to properly handle and recycle empty totes. If you are looking to get some money back for the totes you may also want to look into contacting some local container companies who may buy them from you.

How to prepare the IBC totes for disposal

The most important step is to make sure the totes are empty. The typical standard is RCRA empty, which esesntially means there is less the 1 inch of material left in the container.  While the majority of the contents will drain out on their own, you still need to take some steps to make sure your tote is fully empty and ready for disposal.

If possible rise the tote out before pick up:

  1. When the container is empty, raise that tote at a downward angle to force all the material out.
  2. Once tote is rinsed, drain any remaining colored rinse water into a pail or into the next tote.
  3. Use a hose to wash out any remaining contents from the ibc tote
  4. Recap the tote, bottom and top,

Quick Tip:  Most companies have minimum requirements for pick ups. This can be anywhere from 10-60 totes

Preparing Totes for Return

Follow the guidelines below in order to comply with regulatory requirements and tote collection companies:

  1. Each IBC must be completely empty, e.g., no residual heel, drip-dry (less than 1-gal.), granule-free, free of any solidified residue (both inside and outside of the container) and less than 18-months-old.
  2. Label plates and product labels must be in place with the appropriate hazardous DOT markings. Labels must be affixed to the container and placards must be available for transportation.
  3. Valves and/or other closures must be in place and operable. The DOT requires that all closures be made in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements prior to offering for transportation.
  4. Each IBC must be intact, e.g., no damage to the inner bottle, steel cage or other integral parts of the container. Also, no severe oxidation may be present on the steel cage.
  5. The number of the container indicated on the return ticket must match the number of the container ready for pick up.
  6. An SDS or “Safety Data Sheet”  may be required for first time pick up, especially for haz mat material  .
  7. You must have a minimum of 10 empty totes for free pickup

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