Brand new plastic garbage cans... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

OK... I just bought a plastic garbage can. Am planning to fill it with water in the bathroom for flushing, washing, etc.

My question is... would it be horrible to drink from it in the short run? (say, if we don't fill it until the week before...)

Also... I have rice and beans in their original packages, then wrapped up in plastic bags, (with lots of bay leaves) stored in a new plastic garbage can also. Surely in all that wrapping they'll be ok, won't they? I mean, they won't become poisoned from the plastic, will they?

Thanks, georgia peach

-- georgia peach (, July 26, 1999


georgia peach:

My dog drinks from it all the time [at least when I forget to close the lid]. Doesn't seem to hurt him. I apologize. I just couldn't resist.

Best wishes,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, July 26, 1999.

Georgia, not sure about the potability question, but one potential problem is that the seems in the garbage can might not withstand the pressure from all the water. (Of course, it would depend on how much you were filling it.) You might want to do a practice run, or make sure you place it someplace where a leak wouldn't matter.

-- Brooks (, July 26, 1999.

Georgia, I'm glad you asked. In my area, I couldn't find any "food grade" water barrels at a price I thought was reasonable at the time, so I tried an experiment. I bought a new plastic garbage can (the kind with a twist-lock lid, on wheels) last February, along with a box of 3-mill contractor-grade 42 gallon clean-up bags. I lined the can with a bag, filled it with water, and added bleach as required. "As required" means that I checked it for algae/mold about once per month, added some bleach if there was any doubt, and resealed the bag with a very tight tie.

To date, the bag and can are in good shape, with no leaks or cracks. I sent a sample of the water off to my local university extension service for testing for leached contaminants about 3 weeks ago (plastic, ya know), but I'm sure the water could be used for many non- potable needs. I will post the results of the chemical testing when I get the results (hopefully soon).

-- Spindoc' (, July 27, 1999.

Wow, that's GREAT, Spindoc'! Of course, we'd have to know the brand-name and type of the can.

I've been using Rubbermaid wheeled 35 (?) gall cans to catch water from the carport to water my flowers--but not veggies. Now we also have two proper rain barrels ( and I believe the water is safe to drink from them (after correct filtering for giardia, etc.).

We managed to get a free 55-gall syrup container (empty!) from the Coca-Cola plant for storing tap water, also 5-6 5-gall containers. The latter are wonderful, sturdy, stackable, with carrying handles. Must get some more, far better than the soda bottles we're stashing too.

-- Old Git (, July 27, 1999.

Don't forget the free 5 gallon water jugs from Culligan. Just don't tell them they are for storing water. Tell them you are starting trees in them or something. Make sure they give you caps for them.


-- Taz (, July 27, 1999.

Hauling water is such a chore that we have devised the following method for using water in the bathroom:

Plastic bowls are in all sinks to catch used rinse water. We fill a plastic pitcher with clean water to put on the sink for drinking and hand washing. A five-gallon plastic pail, the kind you store food in, is the waste water container. This is used for flushing. Used dishwashing and laundry water is also poured into this bucket.

Water can be very conveniently stored clean in food grade white plastic buckets. Convenient to carry, can be put in corners, not so big as a garbage can.

Plastic pitchers and dishtubs are very useful for all sorts of things if there is no running water; a good addition to your prep list. I often find good tupperware ones at the thrift store.

-- seraphima (, July 27, 1999.


It's a great idea for non-potable water but I would question using it for drinking water, especially if you add bleach. You don't want that plastic to leach back into your water. And ...when you add bleach to any water make sure it's non-scented bleach.

BTW ... If push comes to shove and that's all the water I had available I would no doubt drink it.


-- Bookworm (, July 27, 1999.

Thanks for the help... and, hey... my dogs are sleeping on the bathroom floor right now since it's so hot outside... I left the lid UP so they could get a tasty drink... (yuck).

I too think that in the short run I would drink from the barrel... after all my stored water was gone. (We're using plastic liters for this.) Thing is, I've got a whole closet full of them now, and am wondering where to store any more plastic liters! That's why I needed a better water solution.)

Plus, the thought of having to ration so much that hair-washing was eliminated is just, well... gross to me.

Thanks again, to all, georgia peach

-- georgia peach (, July 27, 1999.

GP, I plan on using this method also. I have had to fill a similar trash barrel (tight fitting lid, wheels) with heating oil before (DONT ASK!!!), and it seemed to handle the weight fine. I will be filling them just shortly before the first, as long as things look OK, and treating the water with bleach. If I need to use it, I plan on boiling, aerating, and filtering through activated charcoal (to remove the bleach smell) This is a pure "emergency" supply, but I plan on having 6-50 gallon cans ready, or 300 gallons. That would water my family of five for 60 days in a pinch. After the first, should town water continue to flow, I will be using the trash cans for lawn waste, and maybe giving 1 or 2 away.

My only fear right now is that the bleach will react with the plastic of the can, so I am seeking the advice of a "chemical" expert.

-- Copycat (, July 27, 1999.

georgia peach,

Don't forget to fill your bathtubs with water before the dreaded day. Then you can scoop and flush a good many times before you have to use the trash can water.

another georgian,

-- Jill (, July 27, 1999.


I'm planning a similar tactic. I wrote to Rubbermaid to find out if there was anything different between the plastics they use for their "food storage containers" and their "roughneck trash cans". Their response letter basically said that their roughneck refuse containers were designed for the typical residential storage, misc. bulky items, and other non-food products. The polymers that they're made of comply with food additive regulation 177.1520 for olefin polymers. At the time, I wasn's sure just what exactly this meant, but I was betting if it complies with a food additive regulation, this is a good thing. After some tough digging, I found the following at a gov't web page...

******************** From the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) TITLE 21--FOOD AND DRUGS



Subpart B--Substances for Use as Basic Components of Single and Repeated Use Food Contact Surfaces

Sec. 177.1520 Olefin polymers.

The olefin polymers listed in paragraph (a) of this section may be safely used as articles or components of articles intended for use in contact with food, subject to the provisions of this section. (a) For the purpose of this section, olefin polymers are basic polymers manufactured as described in this paragraph, so as to meet the specifications prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section, when tested by the methods described in paragraph (d) of this section. ********************

Rubbermaid went on to say that since the containers weren't designed for food storage they have never been submitted for NSF or USDA sanction, but they were aware of them being used this way without problems. In a nutshell, my guess is they are coming out of the same plant.

Anyway, I figure, get bottled water for drinking, but a couple of 45 gal Rubbermaid trash cans will be good enough to store some "other water" such as for washing, etc. And afterwards I'll also have a couple of nice new trash cans. As with other ideas, this one will be tried out in the couple of weeks (although I told myself that a week ago... call me mr. procrastinator). I figure for some of this "seat of the pants" stuff, it's good to try it out before I rely on it - later would be a bad time to find out this idea isn't so great.


"If I'm wrong about Y2K I won't be out much, but if the pollys are are wrong they'll be out in the cold...which kind of wrong would you rather be...?"

-- Eyell Makedo (, July 28, 1999.


Many of them are treated with insecticide during the manufacturing process. How badly do you want to poison yourself and your family?


-- Dennis (, July 28, 1999.

Hi, All,

The trash can I used is a Roughneck brand from Builder's Square, and the liner is: IRON CLAD (brand) Extra Heavy Duty CONTRACTOR Clean-Up Bags. 32 bags to the box, 42 gallon capacity, 3-mil, price @ $14.99/ box. I expect chemical contamination results from the Extention Service test in about 10 days.

A call to the manufacturer: they say no known pesticides impregnated in the plastic bags, as they were not intended for garbage, only construction refuse. But I don't trust that; I will await the results of the testing. I suggest you do the same.

I will post the results as soon as I get them.

-- Spindoc' (, July 30, 1999.

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