Jennifer Reyes 02/24/23

How to Properly Recycle IBC Totes

How to Properly Recycle IBC Totes
Jennifer Reyes

What Are IBC Totes | Why To Recycle Them


Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs), also known as IBC totes, are reusable industrial-grade containers designed to store and transport liquids and semi-solid materials. They are typically made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, stainless steel, or carbon steel with a protective outer cage.

Due to their durability and versatility, IBC totes have become a popular storage and transportation solution for various industries, including chemicals, food and beverage, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals. However, these totes can become damaged, contaminated, or end their useful life after several uses. When this happens, it is crucial to recycle IBC totes properly.

Improper disposal of intermediate bulk containers can have severe environmental and public health consequences. If disposed of improperly, they can leach toxic chemicals into the soil and groundwater, leading to contamination and potential health hazards. Additionally, IBC totes take up significant landfill space and can take hundreds of years to decompose.



An Overview of the Recycling Process

Recycling empty totes is a sustainable and responsible way to dispose of these containers. The process starts with the collection of the totes, where they are sorted based on their material type, size, and condition. Containers made of HDPE plastic are shredded into small pieces, washed, and melted into pellets. These pellets are then used to create new plastic products, such as water bottles, playground equipment, and piping.

The standard procedure for IBC totes made of metal, such as stainless steel and carbon steel, involves melting the metal and reforming it into new products. The outer cage is often removed and sent for scrap metal recycling.

Working with a reputable company with the necessary equipment and expertise to properly recycle these tanks is essential. Additionally, businesses should ensure that the totes are cleaned and emptied of residual materials to prevent contamination. By adequately processing these containers, companies can reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Preparing a Tote for Recycling

If you have an empty or used IBC tote, properly cleaning and preparing it is the first step. IBC tote recycling is essential to ensure the environment's and people's safety. This blog post will provide the steps needed to prepare an IBC tote for recycling.

Firstly, it's crucial to check if the IBC tote is empty. If the container has any remaining liquids or residues, it must be properly drained and disposed of according to regulations. Once the container is empty, it's time to clean it. Cleaning an IBC tote involves a few simple steps. First, rinse the tote thoroughly with hot water to remove loose debris. If there is severe residue buildup, use a pressure washer to remove it.



Next, add a cleaning solution to the tote. The cleaning solution can be a mixture of water and a mild detergent or a specialized cleaning solution designed for containers. Ensure that the cleaning solution reaches all corners and crevices of the container. Allow the cleaning solution to soak in for a few minutes to break down any remaining residue.

After soaking, rinse the container thoroughly with hot water to remove the cleaning solution. It's essential to ensure that no cleaning solution remains in the container, as this can affect the standard procedures. Once the tote is rinsed, leave it to air dry completely.

In conclusion, preparing an IBC tote for recycling involves ensuring the container is empty, thoroughly cleaning it, and allowing it to dry completely. This ensures the tote is safe for the next steps and doesn't threaten the environment or people.


Find a Recycling Facility


Once you have prepared your containers, the next step is to find a recycling facility that accepts them. One of the best ways to find a recycling facility that accepts IBC totes is to search online for recycling programs or companies that offer tote recycling services. You can also contact your local waste management facility to inquire about any available recycling programs or facilities in your area.

When looking for a recycling facility, it's important to consider the cost and any additional fees that may apply. Some facilities may charge a fee for recycling your totes, while others offer free services. Additionally, you will want to consider the transportation and delivery of the totes to the facility. Freight and gas costs can add up quickly, so it's important to factor these expenses into your overall cost.


Transporting and Delivering the Totes


Once you have found a recycling facility and scheduled a pickup or drop-off, the next step is to transport and deliver the empty totes. It's essential to handle the empty IBC totes with care, as they can be large and heavy, and some residual material may be left inside that could be hazardous if not properly cleaned.

Before delivering the used totes to the recycling facility, be sure to review their safety data sheets to ensure that any residue is properly cleaned and disposed of. It's also important to secure the totes during transportation to prevent any accidents or spills.

If you don't have the means to transport the empty IBC totes to the recycling facility yourself, some recycling companies may offer a pickup service for an additional fee. Be sure to inquire about this option when scheduling the recycling of your totes.



Completing the Recycling Process


Completing the procedure to recycle IBC totes involves finding a recycling facility, transporting and delivering them, preparing them for recycling or to be reused, and finally, recycling the totes. The final step involves processing the containers into reusable materials, reducing waste, and minimizing the environmental impact.

Recycling IBC totes are essential for any business that uses them, as it allows for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly solution to their storage and transportation needs. Many recycling programs and companies offer tote recycling services or the option for them to be reused, with costs varying based on the number of totes, freight, and pickup schedule.

When preparing to recycle your totes, it's important to clean them thoroughly and remove any severe residue that may interfere with the recycling process. Additionally, proper handling and transport are crucial to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the process.

In conclusion, recycling IBC totes is a responsible and environmentally friendly solution for businesses looking to minimize their impact on the planet. By understanding the recycling process, preparing your totes for recycling, and finding the right recycling facility, you can help reduce waste and promote sustainability in your industry.