At ePackageSupply.com, we’re proud of the fact that every product we manufacture and distribute is made and manufactured right here in the beautiful U.S. of A. This means when you trust us for your food grade bucket needs, you can have the peace of mind knowing that your purchase is (1) food grade and (2) made in the USA.
Now, you might be wondering why this matters to us so much—perhaps even thinking something along the lines of, “a 5 gallon bucket is a 5 gallon bucket,” unsure what the big deal is.
We’re happy to expand on this concept, and that will be the focus of this blog: helping you find the right food grade bucket for your needs—and one that’s made right here in America.
First, we’ll address a few misconceptions about 5-gallon buckets. Then, we’ll take a deeper dive into what exactly it means for a bucket to be “food grade,” what it means to be “made in the USA,” and how you can ensure that a bucket you purchase is, in fact, food grade and made in the USA.
Consider this your guide to finding a 5 gallon food grade bucket that’s been made in the USA.
First Things First: A Few Quick Facts About 5 Gallon Buckets
Before we dive into what it means for a bucket to be food grade and made in the USA, we want to clear up a few misconceptions about 5-gallon buckets. We’ll start with the dimensions and volume of a 5-gallon bucket. That should be easy, right? A 5-gallon bucket holds 5 gallons? Not exactly.
What Are 5-Gallon Buckets’ Dimensions & Volume?
This might surprise you, but 5-gallon buckets do come in varying dimensions. Different 5 gallon buckets have different heights, widths, and volumes that are unique specifications of each manufacturer. Many are slightly tapered, as well. You may not perceive this when using the bucket, but it serves an important purpose: to make buckets that are stackable without getting impossibly stuck together!
If you were asked the maximum volume of a 5 gallon bucket, what would your guess be 5 gallons? That’s a really great guess...but not exactly correct. If you look inside a 5 gallon bucket, you should see a horizontal indicator line showing the 5 gallon mark. It’s not going to be at the bucket’s brim, but a couple inches below the brim. This way, if you’re using the bucket for liquids, especially, you can move the bucket without sloshing the contents and losing some of the 5 gallons.
What Are 5-Gallon Buckets Made Of?
Similar to a bucket’s dimensions, the materials a 5 gallon bucket is made of also vary from bucket to bucket, based on the manufacturer as well as the bucket’s intended use. As we’ll cover shortly, food grade plastic buckets are specifically made of plastics identified as #1, #2, #4, and #5 plastics.
Do 5-Gallon Buckets Come With Lids?
Most 5-gallon buckets can be fitted with a variety of different lid types. Food grade 5 gallon buckets with lids provide excellent utility for long term food storage.
Are 5-Gallon Buckets Food Grade?
Some. We’ll discuss this in depth in the next section, but some 5-gallon buckets are appropriate for food storage purposes—while others are not. The main factors that make a bucket food grade are the plastic it’s made of, and the presence of a lid with an airtight seal.
Are 5-Gallon Buckets Made in the USA?
Again, some. While everything we make and sell is made in the USA, that is far from a guarantee with other manufacturers. This just means you may have to do a little research into the manufacturer or company, if buying American is important to you (like it is to us).
Next, let’s take a closer look at two specific characteristics: how to tell if a bucket is food grade, and how to know whether it was made in the USA.
Why “Food Grade” Matters
For certain uses, it’s important to make sure your bucket is food grade. Whether you’re in the restaurant industry, a farmer, pet owner, home-brewer, or you’re prepping for the apocalypse, the last thing you want is avoidable contamination, which can gravely affect your health in some cases.
How Can You Tell If a Bucket Is Food Grade?
It’s generally not very difficult to find out whether a bucket is food grade or not. So, if you’re wondering how to tell if a bucket is food grade, there are a few different ways.
Check the Plastic Number
First, you can look for the plastic number. Usually, on the bottom of a bucket, you should be able to find a recycling symbol with a single digit in the middle. For plastic buckets, this will usually be either a 1, 2, 4, or 5. These numbers specifically refer to the type of plastic the bucket’s made of, which impacts the extent to which the plastic might leech into the bucket’s contents over time, which can pose health risks.
- Plastic #1 refers to polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
- Plastic #2 refers to high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
- Plastic #4 refers to low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
- Plastic #5 refers to polypropylene (PP)
In some cases, another food grade material can be used, as well—acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS. ABS food grade plastic is categorized as a #7 plastic, a broad category that includes “all other plastics.”
The plastic type generally determines the appropriate uses for the bucket, as well as whether the product is recyclable, microwaveable, reusable, freezable, and so on. Especially for long term food storage, you want to be absolutely sure the bucket is food grade.
It’s crucial here to mention that just because a bucket or container is made of one of these plastic types, that does not necessarily mean the bucket is food safe. That being said, an HDPE 2 bucket is food grade a majority of the time.
Look for a Cup & Fork, Other Indicators
If you see an icon (typically on the bottom of the bucket) that looks like a cup and a fork, that indicates food grade material. You might also see specific language like “FDA approved” or “USDA approved.”
If you’re purchasing a brand-new bucket from the manufacturer, it should be clearly labeled as food grade or food safe. This might be printed on the bucket, or affixed as a sticker or label. When in doubt, too, you can just ask!
Are Food Grade 5 Gallon Buckets Airtight?
If equipped with an appropriate lid, any food grade 5 gallon bucket can be made airtight, providing exceptional protection against contamination and spoilage.
What Is a Gamma Lid®, and Are Gamma Seal Lids Food Grade?
In addition to being easier to open and close than other types of bucket lids (no bucket wrench needed!), gamma seal lids also provide airtight, waterproof protection for food storage and other uses.
Gamma seal lids are food grade—as long as they are properly secured and used in tandem with a food grade bucket. To apply a gamma seal lid to a 5 gallon bucket, you’ll need to:
- Read the directions provided with a purchased gamma seal lid. While this may not seem necessary, the manufacturer may provide some specific tips and tricks to ensure proper installation and operation.
- Identify the two parts of the gamma seal lid: the adapter ring, and the lid itself.
- Snap the adapter ring onto the bucket’s rim. First position it, and then use a rubber mallet to further secure the ring. Don’t strike the adapter ring too hard, and don’t use a regular hammer—otherwise, you may damage the adapter ring and compromise the seal’s benefits.
- Finally, screw the lid onto the threaded adapter ring. Voila! Your bucket is airtight and food safe!
If a Bucket Contains BPA, Is It Food Safe?
Savvy consumers are also likely aware of the industrial chemical Bisphenol A—commonly known as BPA. You’ve probably noticed certain goods advertised as BPA-free, which reassures buyers. Similar to many other plastic types, BPA is susceptible to leeching, a process by which potentially harmful chemical substances (from the plastic) can infect the bucket’s contents.
Now, don’t let this scare you, but there may be traces of BPA (or other leeching-susceptible substances) in food grade buckets and other containers. The FDA does monitor these levels, and you can learn more in their Questions & Answers on Bisphenol A (BPA) Use in Food Contact Applications. Ultimately, the FDA has determined that BPA is safe at very low levels, so while the “BPA-free” distinction is ideal, it’s not essential that a food grade bucket contain zero BPA. Make sense?
Why “Made in the USA” Matters
67 percent of adults in the United States would be willing to pay more for products if they knew doing so would support American manufacturing. There are a few reasons for this, including a belief in the superior quality of American-made products, as well as an interest in supporting American manufacturing and industry, creating domestic jobs, and so on.
Reasons to Buy American
Why is this so important? There are a number of economic and political reasons why buying American-made goods is important for our nation and society. When enough consumers see the value in seeking out and purchasing American-made products, it increases the demand for American goods—which, in turn, helps fuel the economy by creating jobs and establishing improved balance in American trade relations.
Here are 10 great reasons why buying American-made products matters, collected by American Made Matters:
- It provides jobs for future generations by growing our own manufacturing sector.
- It promotes American independence by reducing reliance on foreign exports.
- It’s better for the environment due to American manufacturing processes that lean toward cleaner, renewable, eco-friendly practices.
- Our government cannot control foreign labor standards—federal and local mandates for safe working conditions, appropriate wages and paid, and labor laws, for example.
- It boosts American investment opportunities; the more we produce, the more it helps the economy.
- It guarantees quality, as “Made in the USA” stands for (and ensures) a superior and consistent quality of goods.
- It guarantees safer and fair working conditions by adhering to OSHA and other standards, including regulations to minimize accidents and protect worker rights.
- Helps to reduce the deficit by boosting the American economy.
- It avoids entanglement with foreign political debates, diplomatic relations, etc.
- Because outsourced manufacturing plants rarely return to the US, outsourcing should, ideally, be avoided at all costs.
How To Tell If a Bucket Was Made In the USA
This isn’t as easy as you might think. Typically, though, if a product is made in America, its manufacturer will be upfront and clear about that, as it helps many people make their purchasing decisions. The less upfront they are about where and how their products are made, the more reason you have to suspect something other than “made in the USA.”
Here are some things to look for:
- Is the product advertised or labeled as being “all or virtually all made in the U.S.”? Notice the language here. In order to make this claim, products must be (1) assembled in the U.S. and (2) a significant amount of the manufacturing cost comes from U.S. parts and processes. Unfortunately for consumers, “it is up to the individual company to determine their compliance with FTC regulations and use made in the USA language on their products and in their marketing.”
- “Made in America” and “Made in the U.S.A.” are not necessarily the same thing. You see, if a product is “Made in America,” that could technically refer to North America, so a product manufactured in Canada or Mexico could still be “Made in America.”
- Notice the verbs used in the manufacturer’s claims. There’s a difference between a product being made in America or just being assembled in America (with foreign parts).
- You might think an American flag sticker indicates a product made in the U.S., but that’s not necessarily the case. Check the related language—it could be a case of being made in America using global materials, which changes the meaning.
- If you can, do a little research into the country of origin. You might be able to find this information on a product website or the manufacturing company’s website (in the “About Us” section, for example).
Why “Made in the USA” Matters So Much To Us
It’s just a bucket—something that only costs a few bucks—what’s the big deal?
For our company and our employees, “thinking big and acting small” is not a cliché, but the way we do business. This mentality allows us to do what we do best: focus on providing our customers with a positive experience and excellent products.
As a veteran-owned and operated company, sourcing and providing products Made in the U.S.A is one of the primary ways we’re able to deliver on this promise to our customers.
Buying products Made in the USA enables our team to have a “boots on the ground” approach to vendor relationships, product quality, cost control, and competitive lead times. All of these factors contribute directly to providing customers with products that have those attributes – high quality, competitive prices, and quick lead times.
Your One-Stop-Shop for Food Grade Buckets Made in the USA
At ePackageSupply.com, we take great pride in the relationships we have built with our customers and our suppliers. We feel confident that our suppliers in the U.S.A. share that same level of pride, and we are confident in providing their products to our customers.
*ePackage exclusively sells official Gamma Lid® products.