Can any bucket be used to store food?

Are All Plastic Buckets Food Grade?

The short answer is no. Not all plastic buckets are food grade. Symbols on the plastic container advise what it is made from.

Learning what the symbols mean will determine if products to be consumed can be safely contained in the bucket or pot.


Different plastic have different numbers inside the recycling arrow triangle to denote their material type and their usage.

Our pots and buckets are made from polypropylene. They have PP and a number 5 on the base surrounded by the recycle logo. Polypropylene has a high resistance to heat and a high melting point making it ideal for hot filling. It is strong, resistant to cracking and stress with good chemical resistance. The full technical specification for each pot or bucket can be found on the technical data sheet. Some of our lids contain Polyethylene with a number 2 and PE on the base. This is a slightly more flexible plastic making it ideal for repeated removal. It is still safe for food use and has a high melting point, so can be used for hot filling.

The quickest way to tell if a container is food safe is to look for the wine glass and fork symbol. If you see it you’re probably ok, but still check for the certification.

Food Safe Glass and Fork


Always ask for certification if you need a food safe product. BRC or ISO certification will give the reassurance that the product has been produced to certain standards. Our PP buckets, pots and pharmaceutical pots are all virgin plastic and are all food safe with certificate available.

Virgin Plastic

Virgin plastic is one that has not been recycled, it was brand new plastic granules in its last form, and is now a food grade bucket or pot, as long as it is certified as such. Any plastic that has been recycled, such as PCR (we’ll talk about that in a different blog) is not virgin, and therefore cannot be 100% guaranteed to be free from contaminants. The plastic could have been a container for peanuts previously or it could have been a paint tin lid. The risk of contamination is too great, so a non food grade bucket shouldn’t be used to contain food.

Re-Use or Recycle

We actively promote all plastic containers to be to be recycled or reused, we don’t want them ending up in the bin. Our containers can be washed out and reused. If you don’t need to reuse them, simply wash them out and pop them in the recycling as they are 100% recyclable. Please check with your local recycling centre first though.