How To Get Free 55-Gallon Drums Near You

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There are numerous uses for 55-Gallon drums. For example, you can use them in many DIY projects such as making planters, a homemade barbeque, or collecting rainwater to water your new veggie garden. By reusing or upcycling 55-gallon drums – instead of buying them new – you are saving yourself money and doing your part for the environment by reducing waste.


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Key Takeaways

  • Using social media as a starting point might be the fastest and easiest way to find free 55-gallon drums.
  • 55-Gallon drums can be made of plastic or metal, so check the material is suitable for your intended purposes.
  • Second-hand drums may contain traces of hazardous chemicals. It is advisable to wash the drum thoroughly with soap before using it.
  • Free 55-gallon drums might be defective, e.g., have holes or rust. Check the condition of the drum is suitable for your needs.
  • New 55-gallon drums are not very cheap, and the person or company may want to recover some costs. You may need to negotiate or pay a small price.

How Can You Get Free Or Cheap 55-Gallon Drums Near You?

Given the cost of new 55-gallon drums, not many people or companies give them away for free unless they have a good reason to do so. It’s not an impossible feat, though; you might be lucky enough to land yourself a free (or cheap) drum or two. You might get more than you expected with some planning and patience.

1. Social Media Sites Like Facebook Marketplace, Craiglist, And Discussion Sites

The benefit of using social media is that you can cast your net wide. You can also use filters to narrow your search and make specific requests, like, “Looking for a steel drum to make a burner.” Discussion platforms on some upcycling sites are helpful, too.

Some websites allow you to post free classified ads. Sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Craiglist, and Locanto are a good start, as are some upcycling websites, although many require you to have an account to log in. If you have a neighborhood chat group on your mobile phone, you can also ask for pointers on that platform.

2. Beverage Companies Or Breweries

Giant drinks manufacturers like Pepsi and Coca-Cola use 55-gallon drums to transport and store ingredients like the syrups used in their beverages, and they have manufacturing facilities all over the U.S. Some breweries or wine farms will also use 55-gallon drums to store their ingredients or products.


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According to dnb.com, there are over 19 000 beverage manufacturers in the U.S., so a simple online search of “drinks manufacturer near me” or “brewery near me” will reveal those closest to you. You may wish to check for availability before making the trip.

3. Construction Companies

Construction companies and insulation companies are a good place to get free 55-gallon drums, as they often cannot reuse them. It would cost these companies to dispose of the drums safely, so they are more inclined to give them away. Your local hardware store might be able to point you in the right direction.

Sites like Houzz give you the option to find professionals near you. You can search for construction or insulation companies near you or even contact local chemical or cleaning companies to see if they have unwanted drums. However, the drums often have toxic chemicals, so it is wise to clean them thoroughly before using them.

4. Paint Manufacturers

Paint companies use 55-gallon drums to transport and store paint and primer, which contain toxic chemicals. Due to the toxic nature of the products stored in the drums, the paint companies need to ensure the disposal of these drums is safe and may be obligated not to give them away for free.

However, you may be able to convince a paint company to give you a free drum if you assure them you will clean it out thoroughly and safely before using it. You may want to try some paint companies, including Behr, RPM, and Axalta.

5. Auto Dealers And Maintenance Workshops

Auto dealers and maintenance workshops often have 55-gallon drums that house diesel, petrol, or anti-freeze. All these substances are toxic, so if you get your hands on one of these drums, it needs to be cleaned incredibly well – especially if you will be using it for growing plants.


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If you have bought a vehicle from your local auto dealer, that existing rapport might be to your advantage when asking for a free 55-gallon drum. So, phone ahead or pop in and chat with your local auto dealer about relieving them of the unused drums out back.

6. Car Washes

Car washes are often recommended as places to try when looking for a free or cheap 55-gallon drum. Car washes buy large quantities of cleaning soaps and polishes, often in plastic drums. If you have acquired a second-hand drum from a car wash, it must be cleaned out properly before use, especially if you use it as a planter.

7. Waste Collection Companies Specializing In Industrial Waste Removal And Disposal

Many manufacturers with hazardous waste will outsource their waste disposal to a hazardous waste disposal company. The biggest waste management company in the U.S. is Waste Management Inc., but many other companies deal with waste collection – hazardous and otherwise. You can search on your browser or ask your garbage collectors for advice when they pass by.

8. Newspaper Classifieds And Public Notice Boards

Look in your local stores for community newspapers and free newsprints. You can advertise in your local community classifieds section, asking for a free 55-gallon drum. Many small newspapers also have an online version, expanding your audience.

Many stores have notice boards for their customers to advertise an event or service within the store policy. If your local store has a notice board, ask them if you can put up a notice requesting a free 55-gallon drum.

9. Your Local Scrapyard

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. You may find a useful drum or container at your local scrapyard or rubbish dump. Just be sure to wash it properly, as you won’t know where it came from and what was in it before you claimed it.

10. Places That Sell Cheap 55-Gallon Drums

If all your attempts at getting a freebie 55-gallon drum have been for naught, you can buy relatively cheap 55-gallon drums at a packaging company like Cary Company, a shop like Home Depot, or on sites like eBay. eBay is likely to be your cheapest option in such a case.


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How Much Does An Empty 55-Gallon Drum Weigh?

An empty steel 55-gallon drum will weigh around 80 lbs. depending on the thickness of the steel used. A plastic 55-gallon drum will weigh about 22 lbs.

Will A 55-Gallon Drum Fit Into My Car?

Provided your car isn’t already full of stuff, you should be able to fit a 55-gallon drum into your car. The steel drum dimensions are 22.5″ by 33.0″, and a plastic drum will measure 23.25″ by 34.75″.

What Else Can I Do With 55-Gallon Drums?

You can do many things to upcycle and reuse 55-gallon drums! Watch this video for ideas for steel drums, and follow this link for ideas for plastic drums.

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