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Tips for Storing and Shipping in Plastic Drums & Barrels

Substantially lighter than steel drums, plastic drums are much less expensive to ship and last longer, making them great for shipping and storing products. When using plastic drums for your business or residence, here are a few things to consider:

Types of Plastic Drums

There are two basic types: open head and closed head (or tight head).

Open head drums usually come with easily removable covers and are closed with either a lever lock or bolt rings. A lever lock ring cover is suitable for thicker, more viscous materials, while a bolt ring cover is more suitable for solids and general goods.

Closed head drums are the best for storing and transporting low-viscosity fluids. Watch the video below to learn how to dispense liquid from closed head drums.

Plastic drums are usually made of high-quality plastic to ensure strength and durability. Rotationally molded drums are one of the best in the market right now. Unlike blow-molded drums, roto-molded drums have thicker, more consistent walls, giving them superior strength and durability. More importantly, roto-molding produces much more sophisticated drums with more efficiency and at a lower cost.

Storing in Drums

You can store a wide variety of items in plastic drums, including dry, semi-liquid, and liquid products. Plastic may also be the only option for items on this list:

  • Corrosive Materials: Plastic drums are more corrosive-resistant than metal ones, making them the ideal choice for use with many corrosive materials. Be sure to look for rotationally molded drums, such as our own Tamco® Drums, with their thicker walls.

  • Lubricants, Detergents, Coolants, and Surfactants: Unlike metal drums, which can cause certain materials to oxidize, resulting in product loss, plastic does not cause oxidation. Make sure to choose drums with quality closures that provide airtight storage.

  • Food and Beverages: Look for a food grade symbol, usually located on the bottom of the container. Food products well-suited to plastic drums include grains, herbs, and dry goods like flour and sugar. You may want to line the drum to reduce spillage for flavored food and beverages (i.e., not water). Shop Liners

  • Pharmaceuticals: There are many reasons why plastic is a superior packaging solution for most pharmaceutical products. For example, sterile plastics are usually used to administer medicines safely while preventing the spread of disease. Although not all pharmaceutical products require sterile plastics, plastic packaging is generally safer and more reliable.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions or can't find what you are looking for.

Shipping in Drums

Be sure to look for drums that meet the required UN/DOT rating or FDA approval required to ship your product. It is also important to note that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow using reconditioned drums to ship food, beverages, and other products for human consumption.

Chemicals aren't the only hazardous product. Items like aerosols, perfume, and lithium batteries may also have special shipping restrictions. When transporting dangerous or hazardous products, it is necessary to understand the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT's) regulations.

Title: Tips for Storing and Shipping in Plastic Drums & Barrels
Description: Things to consider when shipping and storing materials in drums.
Published: 11/27/2019
Last Edited: 12/29/2022

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The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by United States Plastic Corp. and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

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