Industry News & Information

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.

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A Look Back: What I learned in Boston

As we look back on 2013 one story stands out against all the rest – The bombings in Boston. Every 2013 sports story, or coverage of events in the United States, or the world for that matter talk about that fateful day in April last year when two brothers placed a couple of backpacks with home made explosives at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Thanks to the BOSTON POLICE RUNNER’s CLUB (BPRC) I got to be there to race in one of the greatest spectacles in sport. For 20 years the BPRC has fielded a team for the marathon as a way to raise monies for a variety of community outreach programs, including Path4Teens. I was grateful for the opportunity and trained hard with the hopes of running the race of my life. Thank each and every one of you who gave ot the cause. Your contribution was fully tax deductible [501(c)3-75-3240064]

For Boston 2013 I had one goal – to be under 3:40 (three hours and forty minutes) – for my age, 54, that is what I needed to qualify for the marathon in 2014. I felt strong all 26.2 miles, coming in at 3:38, a personal best by 27 minutes! I was thrilled. Then, less than thirty minutes later, it was total chaos.

The marathon is a 118 year tradition, the oldest annual running event and by far the longest running marathon in the world. The city comes out in droves and each of the seven towns we run in from Hopkington to Boston are in full on celebration mode for Patriot’s day.

LIFE lessons are found in all we do and everything is a mirror. After running my share of marathons I began to see some life and business lessons in the experience. Boston 2013 was no different, especially with the impact of the bombings. THREE come to mind.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” – It takes what it takes to prepare and finish a marathon. A lot can happen over the course of a 26 mile race, and unless you have put in the “foot work” it is easy to get knocked off course and end up falling short of your goal.

“Your life is none of your business” – I often run for a cause, such as or serving the less fortunate in a community (Mazatlan, Mexico and Houston, TX). There are 7 billion of us on planet earth and unless you have learned to fit yourself to be of maximum service to something bigger than yourself, you are missing out.

“Preparedness is not just a word, it is a way of life” – We never know what each day will bring. The Boston Police department (all municipal services) handled the emergency situation professionally. In fact the police chief actually ran the marathon (a 3:34!) and was on the job within the hour of finishing, orchestrating the various municipal services better than Arthur Fiedler could have ever hoped conducting the Boston Pops. MBC has a litany of articles designed to help others get prepared for an unscheduled emergency, be it weather or terror related. “Saving for a rainy day” is not just a cute saying. It is common sense.

Thanks to all my coaches, mentors, and to the marathon itself for teaching me about life and business. It has made me a better husband/father/person/manager/owner.

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We’ll Always Have Paris

Is the Paris agreement (now back in the news with President Trump addressing the United Nations) enforceable and would it meet its purpose even it were? Imagine if the US Environmental Protection Agency and the states decided to abandon the NPDES permitting process in favor of voluntary discharge goals. Each industry and municipality would decide its own discharge levels with no permitting or reporting process and no legal framework or enforcement mechanisms.

If you believe that we in the US face a climate crisis and action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions and maintain temperature rise below 2C, the Paris Agreement is ineffective. So why support another ineffective agreement on climate?

If you believe that we do not face a climate crisis and that the impact of climate change will be moderate or non-existent, your position is less subtle. The Paris Agreement is, at its best, a superfluous international “feel good” agreement that accomplishes little. At its worst, it puts the US at an economic disadvantage, complicates our national sovereignty, and allows the world to vote itself access to our treasury. Again, this is not something that deserves your support.

Much has been made about the Paris Agreement, largely because so many countries are signatories. Most of the signatories also would be on the receiving side of the $100 billion per year funding, regardless of attainment of their individually nationally determined contributions (INDCs). For example, it allows China, Russia, India, and Brazil to allow its CO2 emissions to continue to grow until 2030, and only then, if they choose, do they have to do anything to stabilize or reduce emissions. Even if the fund falls short of the $100 billion, there will still be a lot of money involved, so it is fair to question whether those countries’ motives are entirely pure. As George Bernard Shaw said, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul, can always depend on the support of Paul.”

Personally, I reject the correlation that if you are in favor of action on climate change then you must automatically be in favor of the Paris Agreement. I also do not believe that someone who opposes action on climate change must automatically oppose the Paris Agreement. It is also important to distance ourselves from the notion that we have only two options: adopt the Paris Agreement that moves us towards a clean, efficient and prosperous future, or reject the agreement and return to the 1960s era smokestacks and a rapid destruction of our environment. Neither scenario is likely.

The good news: The US INDCs were to cut emissions to 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Estimates believe we are already at the halfway point to meeting this goal by replacing coal and oil with lower emission shale gas from fracking. Speaking of renewable sources, 2016 estimates 30% of US electric generation was from coal, 35% from other fossil fuels, 20% from nuclear and 15% from renewable sources, including nearly a 7% contribution from hydro-electric dams, and another 7% contribution from wind and solar combined.

Might it not be preferable to meet those reductions sooner than later and then continue the conversion away from shale gas and other non-coal fossil fuels to renewables? It is going to take a village to change how we do what we do and its going to take time to turn the Titanic around. What is one small thing you can do today to contribute towards a brighter future for your children and grandchildren?


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