What Plastic is a 5 Gallon Bucket?

Dec 17th 2021

5 gallon buckets are a common container type, noteworthy for their versatility. 5 gallon buckets can be used for all sorts of purposes, truly limited only by your imagination. They can be used all over gardens to grow, arrange, and hang plants. They can be crafted into bird, bug, or bee habitats. They can even be used for an oversized game of backyard beer pong. There are regular buckets, food-grade buckets, skinny buckets, thick buckets. So basically what we’re saying is there is a lot to know about 5 gallon buckets. Fortunately, we’re here to help you figure it all out. In this blog we are going to focus on what 5 gallon buckets are made of and what the difference is between some of the materials used. We do have some food grade buckets made in the USA if that is what you are looking for specifically.

5 Gallon Buckets


What Material is a Five Gallon Bucket Made of?

Drumroll please….plastic. Ah shoot, did the title give us away? Okay, yeah, most 5 gallon buckets are made of plastic. But, what kind of plastics are 5 gallon buckets made of? Plastic type depends primarily on two things: manufacturer and intended bucket usage.

If you have a bucket in front of you, the easiest way to tell what kind of plastic it’s made out of is to flip the bucket over and look for a number from 1-7 on the bottom. In particular, this number should be in the middle of the recycling symbol (the three arrows forming a triangle). Once you find your number, use the following list to identify the plastic type:

  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)- Is a very commonly used plastic type. It is lightweight, strong, and typically transparent. PET is often used for food packaging like beverage bottles or jars. It can also commonly be found in polyester clothing or rope.
  2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)- Collectively polyethylene is the most used plastic in the world. However it is classified into three types, low-density, linear low-density, and high-density. HDPE in particular is a strong and resistant plastic, keeping things safe from moisture or chemicals. So if you have a bucket and wanted to know “What does HDPE on a 5 gallon bucket mean?,” now you know! Aside from buckets you might find it in milk cartons, detergent bottles, kids toys or benches.
  3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl)- A hard and rigid plastic, PVC is highly resistant to chemicals and weathering. This makes it ideal for construction and building applications. Additionally, since it does not conduct electricity, it is often used for wiring and or cable projects as well. A third primary use for PVC is medical settings since it is impermeable to germs and easily disinfected. Note: PVC is the most dangerous plastic to human health, known to leach toxins like lead and dioxins throughout its entire life cycle.
  4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)- This softer, clearer, and more pliable version of HDPE is typically used as a liner inside a beverage container or in corrosion resistant surfaces.
  5. Polypropylene (PP)- Is one of the more durable types of plastic. It is extremely resistant to heat, making it ideal for lots of food packaging or storage that is meant to hold hot items or be heated itself. Think microwave safe when you think of PP. While it has some flexibility to it, it is known for holding its shape over time.
  6. Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam)- This plastic is known for its lost cost and high insulation ability. As such it is a staple of the food industry. However, similar to PVC, it can leach toxins into food if used improperly and become very harmful to humans.
  7. Other- That’s right, the notorious cousin to “all of the above” and sibling of “N/A” is present in the world of plastics too. A 7 is essentially a catch-all for any type of plastic that does not fall within the other six categories. It’s important to note that 7s are not recyclable and not recommended for food storage, simply based on the number code alone. With slightly more research into what the plastic actually is, you can determine for yourself if it’s a plastic you would eat with or stray away from.

What Kind of Plastic are Home Depot Buckets

So we’ve discussed the plastic types and what you can use a 5 gallon bucket for. Now you want to head down to the store and pick some up for your next DIY project. The classic orange Home Depot bucket is an HDPE 5 gallon bucket. But maybe you don’t actually want to head to the store at all. Instead you want buckets shipped right to your door, paired with top-notch customer service and industry knowledge. That’s where we come in!

ePackageSupply: The Best Bang for Your Bucket

At ePackageSupply we are your one-stop partner for all your packaging needs. From buckets, to jars, lids, to cups, prepping to serving, we have your needs covered. Unlike those big box stores, we promise you will never be disappointed with your experience. Our customer service and industry knowledge are backed by our military veteran work ethic and values. When you shop with us, you can feel good about your purchase. Head over to our website today. 

*ePackage exclusively sells official Gamma Lid ® products.