Intermediate Bulk Containers [IBCs/Totes]
What’s a tote? Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) or totes are primarily multi-use bulk containers that hold five (275 gallon) or six (330 gallon) drums of material. A majority of the repackaging industry uses are composite or steel (carbon or stainless) types. For the purposes of this short article we are going to focus on composite, “one way” totes.
MBC receives IBCs from a variety of companies from soap and petroleum repackagers to food, products from the drilling industry, vitamin and supplement manufacturers, and essential oils and scents used for candles, etc.
There are a few choices one has to make concerning pallet type:steel base (most popular), steel and poly base (poly corners), poly base (entirely plastic bottom), and wood base.
Valve type: Cam Lock (quick on and off with hoses that have the coupling attachment) and NPT (National Pipe Thread screws on). There are three ways the valve works: ball valve, butterfly valve, and cylinder valve. All are effective ways of keeping material in the tote until required. Some valves can be screwed on and off, while others are fused on.
Size: As mentioned above, a composite comes in two sizes, 275 and 330 gallons (1040 or 1248 liters).
Before we share some information on the IBCs we have available for purchase, we want to point out that some people buy an “As is” INC – This is a used tote that is generally dirty. While some of the totes we receive have been triple rinsed, most come in with a small amount of material in them. Each ONE INCH “heel” generally means approximately 8-10 gallons of material. While the cages make great storage units, you never really know what you are getting (despite what the label says). Why put yourself in harm’s way by picking up one that has not been cleaned properly? It is important to dispose of waste properly and have your eyes wide open concerning IBCs. We see used dirty totes for sale on local sites such as KSL and Craig’s List. Sadly, they are generally advertised as okay for water storage which could not be further from the truth. ONLY new or rebottled (new bottle and existing cage) can be used for food and water storage [the same goes for 55 gallon drums!] Mark’s Barrel Company has two types of IBCs for sale:reprocessed, and rebottled.
“REPROCESSED” – Is an IBC that has been inspected inside and out and been through a significant routine maintenance process which includes cleaning, replacement and service of various parts (gaskets, valves, fasteners), and the verification of leaktighness. Bottles and cages are cleaned with high pressure hot water and steam to remove residue left after draining and vacuuming. Cages are repaired as needed. Valves cleaned or replaced. All processes done per UN and DOT Codes of Operating Practices which are the requirements outlined in the Responsible Packaging Management procedures provided by the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA) found at www.reusablepackaging.orgof which MBC has been a member for over two decades.
It is important to note that reprocessed IBCs are not “new” but “like new”. There are some cosmetic imperfections and some bottles may be slightly discolored or contain a slight odor. However, they are free of residue, and though not sufficient for stringent food consumption concerns, are a popular choice (3.5 million IBCs were reprocessed last year (2.5 million 275 gallons and 1 million 330 gallons) for industry and individuals alike. Total carbon emission savings is nearly 300 million pounds through reuse versus buying new.
“REBOTTLED” – Is a repaired or remanufactured unit where an existing bottle is replaced by a new bottle and put into an existing cage [versus a totally new unit which has a new cage and a new bottle]. An IBC repair is putting the inner receptacle (bottle) that meets the original specification, and IBC remanufacturing is when we convert one design type to another. These design types are tested and certified yearly. This IBC is perfect for water or food storage, or any application where a sealed, new container is required.
So, to recap, while all the IBCs are meticulously cleaned, repaired, tested, and inspected per UN and DOT standards to safely transport and store materials, only the REBOTTLED units are safe for food and water consumption. Call MBC for all your IBC needs. As the largest supplier of IBCs in a 500 square mile area, our experience and expertise can help you select the correct product for your needs.