Cheap water storage - sterilite totes!

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rdeslonde's picture
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Joined: Oct 20 2012
Posts: 10
Cheap water storage - sterilite totes!

I was in Walmart yesterday and saw large (40 Gal) Sterilite totes for $9...I was curious if they could be used to store water and it appears they are!

From the website:

      Q: What materials are used to manufacture Sterilite products?

A: Our products are made of polypropylene and polyethylene that are safe for food storage. No PVCs, Latex, Teflon, Phthalates chemicals, fungicides, Bishphenol A (BPAs), or antibacterial chemicals are used in our manufacturing process. Our clear (see-through) products are acid-free, and safe for storing photos, fabrics, craft, or hobby items and other keepsakes. We do not recommend the use of plastic products for negatives that are glass plate, nitrate or acetate-based."

What do you think? I don't know much about this this safe to store water in? If so this would be great...they are stackable, cheap, and in lot's of different sizes.

Are these safe to store water in?

dkyates's picture
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Joined: Mar 28 2012
Posts: 11
Food Grade Plastics

I distill around 350 gallons of water each year for consumption, and only trust HDPE Food Grade containers for storage of water.  Check out the info at this website:

Below is an excerpt. Note that "mold" refers to the manufacturing mold used to shape the plastic, and not to mold spores.

All food grade buckets are made of HDPE #2 (high density polyethylene) but not all HDPE #2 buckets are food grade. Buckets that are not food grade will out-gas and leach into the container, and whatever is in the container.

HDPE #2 buckets that are not food grade will have been manufactured with a non-food-grade “mold release agent”.

A mold release agent is what is used to help get the newly shaped plastic off of the hard mold that it was shaped from during the manufacturing process. Without the release agent, the new plastic shape will likely stick to the mold. Some mold release agents enable much faster production than others, but may be toxic to your health if later used with food stuffs.

If the bucket is marked specifically as food grade or USDA approved (or FDA or NSF approved), then it is food grade. Otherwise contact the supplier or manufacturer to confirm.

Unless those Sterlite containers are specifically graded as "Food Grade", they are not completely safe for water storage.

Here is where I find the more manageable 5 gal Food Grade containers for water storage.  They are also stackable:

Best wishes!

EricBosloor's picture
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Joined: May 26 2014
Posts: 2
When finding storage for

When finding storage for something that you consume and goes inside your body, it is always good to find trusted products that use materials safe for us. Even if these are slightly expensive, it is worth the money. We do not need to scrimp these items that will have an impact in our body, and it is good to spend a little, rather than be placed in danger.

TechGuy's picture
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Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 453
If you're concerned about

If you're concerned about algae, then you want containers that block light as algae will grow in the tanks if they are exposed to light. Avoid clear plastic for long term water storage containers.

US Plastics sells a water storatge containers. These would be much better than tote containers. Tote containers are not designed for water storage.

SPAM_michaelmaloney's picture
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Joined: Sep 29 2014
Posts: 4
I have seen similar storage

I have seen similar storage totes before as well and I must say they have been very useful around the house, especially in the garage. And since they are waterproof, they can be used to store almost anything and everything without having to worry about rain or any other weather conditions. Therefore, even clothings can be stored in there for a long time without the need to worry about mould or infestation of bugs.

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