What are IBC Totes (Intermediate Bulk Containers) Used For ?

Posted by ReUsed USA
On February 16, 2023

IBC Totes are Used in a Variety of Industries

In most cases, IBC tanks (intermediate bulk containers) are used to store and transport bulk food material, but can store and transport a range of other liquids as well. IBC tanks can also be used to store hazardous materials because of their UN ratings.

IBC tanks are versatile, long-lasting, and cost-effective storage containers for water and other liquids.

IBC Totes: What Are They?

Large quantities of liquid can be safely stored in an IBC Tote. Tanks made of IBCs are square or rectangular in shape, and they are fitted with nozzles and valves for easy filling and emptying.

IBC tanks are designed to store liquids. UN-certified IBC tanks are made from food-grade materials. There are many ways to reuse, disinfect, clean, repair, and recycle these items.

Industrial IBC tanks are designed for use in manufacturing environments. They are also equipped with protective cages and pallets in addition to nozzles and valves. For ease of storage, they can be stacked one on top of another and moved around using industrial equipment (forklifts).

What are the uses of IBC tanks?

Most companies in the food manufacturing industry use IBC totes to ship or receive bulk amounts of food grade ingredients. The 275 and 330 Gallon Totes also popular in the Automotive, Pharma, Medical, and Beverage industries.

For personal use many homesteaders, preppers, or DIYers use these containers to store drinking water or rainwater for long-term storage.

Popular storage uses include:

  • Drinking water storage

  • Collection of Rainwater

  • The manufacturing and production of food

  • Various types of fuel (petrol, diesel, etc.)

  • Fracking

  • Paint

  • Drinking alcohol

  • Chemical Industry

  • Herbicides and pesticides

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Waste that is hazardous

IBC Containers: What Are They Made Of?

A robust, easy-to-mass-produce, recyclable, durable and multipurpose plastic polymer is used to manufacture IBC tanks.

HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is the most common plastic polymer used to manufacture IBC tanks. The classic blue plastic drum is made from HDPE, which is commonly used in industrial storage products. Due to its non-reactive nature, HDPE does not contaminate or react with liquids.

When storing or transporting HDPE IBC water tanks, an optional steel cage can provide extra protection. A steel pallet supports the HDPE tank, making it easy to move and stack. Galvanized steel is extremely strong and long-lasting. Some IBC totes also have wooden pallets. These Tanks are cheaper and harder to reuse.

Additional layers of protection can also be added to IBC tanks. Covers that resist UV rays and dust are the most popular

What Is the Size of an IBC Tank?

The most popular IBC tote sizes in the united states are the 275 Gallon and 330 Gallon Totes. Although they can range anywhere from 50gallon to 500.

A large amount of liquid can be stored in an IBC tank. Standard IBC tanks hold 1,000 litres and can vary in size. IBC tanks weigh at least 1,000 pounds if they are full.

Forklifts or other industrial equipment can easily move and store an IBC, even when it holds a large amount of liquid.

Is it possible to store rainwater in IBC tanks?

Rainwater can be stored in IBC tanks perfectly. IBCs are commonly installed in outdoor spaces in order to collect and store water for various uses, such as backup supplies or watering gardens (a process known as IBC rainwater harvesting).

That being said be VERY careful when buying used IBC totes for rainwater or drinking water. Some of these totes have contained hazmat or dangerous chemical that can harm people if consumed. If possible it is always recommended to go with a New IBC tote when you intent to use it for drinking water.

Clean, disinfected, and repurposed old IBCs are often found in people’s gardens. IBCs can be reused rather than thrown away by using this method.

Can IBC Tanks Be Used for Storing Drinking Water?

Rainwater and drinking water can both be safely stored in IBC tanks. These containers are perfect for storing large quantities for personal use or for other purposes. Festival and event organizers store large quantities of drinking water in IBC tanks in rural areas where rainwater is collected and disinfected.

There are however a few rules to follow when storing drinking water in IBC tanks:

  • Hazardous waste IBCs should not be used if they have previously held dangerous materials.

  • “Food Grade” does not equal safe to use. Even if a IBC was used in food production it could still contain high concentrations of chemicals used in food manufacturing.. While they are technically “food grade” they can still be dangerous to drink out of.

  • When possible, store IBC water tanks undercover in cool conditions (UV-resistant covers can help here).

  • Make sure your drinking water is fresh and clean by rotating it every six months.

  • If water is left in the tank for too long, it should be poured out.

Contact Us for Any IBC tote Questions

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