Four Uses of Plastic Barrels for Emergency Preparedness

Plastic Storage Drums

Our world changes incredibly quickly, and it’s harder than ever to know what might be around the corner. In an emergency, it’s key to have the supplies set aside that will keep you and your loved ones safe. Durable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) barrels are some of the most useful and versatile items for self-sufficiency practices. That’s why AirSea Containers offers a complete range of HDPE plastic barrels that are perfect for storage, preparation and many other uses.

What are the most common uses of these barrels, and why are they such a popular option for preparedness practices? Here are four ways that HDPE barrels can make a big difference in your self-sufficiency.

1. They’re great for storing water.

In an emergency situation, particularly a natural disaster, a supply of fresh drinking water will likely be one of your foremost concerns. In an article on water storage for emergencies, the preparedness experts at The Provident Prepper note that a food grade 55-gallon plastic drum holds two weeks’ supply of fresh water for two people.

It’s also important to pay attention to the “food grade” part of that equation. The Provident Prepper recommends barrels made of HDPE, a plastic that the FDA has established as being acceptable for food and beverage storage. They also recommend storing your water barrels:

  • Out of direct sunlight
  • Somewhere with cool, stable temperatures
  • Away from toxic chemicals such as gasoline
  • Off the ground, on pallets or planks
  • Under a heavy, dark tarp if you have to store them outside

These practices will help increase the likelihood of having sufficient fresh water to ride out any emergency. However, there are further measures that you can take to create your own water supply for other uses.

2. You can also use them to collect rainwater.

Creating a rain barrel is a practical way to collect and conserve water for everyday applications. A rain barrel is a simple device that sits underneath your home’s downspout and collects runoff. Although the water collected isn’t suitable for drinking — unless carefully purified first using chemicals like iodine — it’s perfect for watering gardens, washing clothes and fulfilling other household applications.

A closed-head barrel from AirSea even comes pre-equipped with a bung that perfectly accommodates our 2-inch polyethylene spigots, so you can dispense the water as needed. All you’ll need to do is cut another hole into the top to allow water to enter. Cover it with a semi-permeable fabric such as landscaping cloth to prevent pests like mosquitoes from entering. Drill one or two more holes in the top to allow overflow, and you’re done!

One caveat: rain barrels are illegal in some jurisdictions, so make sure that you check your local laws before you put one out.

Rain Barrel for recycling rainwater


3. Plastic barrels are perfect for composting.

Composting is a staple of self-sufficiency practices, as it allows leftover food scraps to be recycled into fertile soil that’s great for growing new crops. In order to work its magic more quickly, a compost pile needs to be placed in a sealed container, away from light. It also needs to be protected from insects and roaming animals.

As one clever gardener discovered, plastic barrels are perfect for compost bins. The process requires a little work, including the addition of a wood frame and latches to keep curious creatures away. But composting using a plastic barrel offers many advantages:

  • Faster composting process (paint it black for even better results!)
  • Reduced or eliminated odor from decomposing materials
  • Usability in yards with limited space
  • Ease to spin to achieve the tumbling motion recommended for good composting

When your soil is ready to go, you can use another barrel to achieve your next step: growing plants!

4. Make your own planters.

These DIY plastic barrel planters are perfect for a variety of plants. With some holes drilled in the base and an inch or so of gravel in the bottom for drainage, you’ve got an instant garden. They’re especially good for tree saplings and vegetables that root deeply.

What’s more, if you use the included instructions for decorating the barrels using attached wooden planks, they can actually look quite stylish! Best of all, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with a secure and sustainable food source for you and your loved ones. Combining your barrel gardens with smart canning practices can produce long-term food supplies as well.

The fundamental function of a container is to guard and protect what’s valuable. By offering tough and versatile multi-use barrels, AirSea is proud to help our customers create solutions for protecting what they value the most. Contact us online or call (866) 801-2581 to learn more about AirSea’s selection.

Young green seedlings plants growing in compost trays


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