How do I get rid of an IBC container?

Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) are a practical and efficient solution for storing and transporting fluids, liquids and semi-solids.

Used across various industries – from food and drink manufacturing to automotive to chemical and pharmaceutical – they are stackable, reusable, and versatile.

But what happens when your IBCs are no longer required or reach the end of their life? How can you get rid of your containers without sending them to landfill?

Repurpose or upcycle

If you spend more than five minutes on Google looking for ways to repurpose IBCs, you’ll find a wide range of creative ideas for upcycling – we’ve even seen some larger IBCs transformed into hot tubs!

However, some more common uses include using them for rainwater collection to irrigate allotments and small farms, storing firewood, or transforming them into planters or flower beds. And if you’re particularly creative, you can transform old drums into outdoor seating or table bases.

So, if you have a small number of IBCs you no longer need, you could look for organisations in your local community that can make use of them. Just make sure they have been decontaminated first.

Recondition for resale

If your IBCs are still in good condition but are surplus to requirement, they can be reconditioned for resale to other businesses.

It’s not recommended you use reconditioned containers for storing products for human consumption, but they can be used for plenty of other things.

This extends the lifespan of IBCs and drums, meaning less plastic production and less plastic waste.

It also means businesses selling unused containers can make a little bit of money back on their investment, and the companies buying reconditioned containers save money.

Shred and granulate for reprocessing

IBCs and drums made from HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) plastic can serve a purpose after they reach the end of their life as a storage container.

HDPE can be decontaminated, shredded, and granulated, then used in the production of new products, including:

Consumer goods – shreds and granules can be used instead of virgin plastic to produce plastic products, such as toys.

Plastic ‘lumber’ – shredded HDPE can be mixed with other materials to create plastic lumber, which can be used for decking, fencing, and outdoor seating.

Piping and tubes – HDPE granules are commonly used for plastic pipes and tubing for water drainage or underground cables.

Plastic pallets – shredded HDPE can be used to produce plastic pallets commonly used in warehouses.

Automotive parts – recycled plastic can be used for car parts such as bumper covers and interior trim.

Roto moulded products – rotational moulding is used to create large, hollow plastic products such as children's slides or kayaks.

As well as recycling the plastic elements of your IBCs and drums, the metal cages can also be reused or recycled.

How C.O’Donovan & Sons can help

We’re specialists in the laundering, reconditioning and recycling of IBCs and drums. Our Yorkshire-based facility can process up to 300 containers per day.

So if you have IBCs or drums that are surplus to requirement or no longer fit for purpose, we can help.

Launder – we’ll inspect, clean, and test your IBCs ready for you to repurpose or upcycle.

Reconditioning – we could buy and recondition your unwanted IBCs and drums for resale.

Shredding and granulating – we’ll clean, shred, and granulate unusable IBCs and drums and send to manufacturers for reprocessing.

If you are local to us, you can arrange to drop your IBCs off at our drum yard, or we’ll schedule a collection for loads of over 32 containers.

If you’re a bit further away, we offer nationwide collection for loads of over 52 containers, and a single artic can hold up to 70 IBCs.

If you have a smaller load, let us know. It may be possible to arrange collection if we work with a business in your area.

For single IBCs and drums, it will be more sustainable for you to recycle locally.

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