Instructables

can i make a compost tumbler out of a non food grade barrell.

I am using a non food grade barrel that had a aqueous coating in it. It has been scrubed and cleaned very well. There appears not to have any residue left in it. What is the difference between food grade and non food grade?

gtrachel4 years ago
 I realize this is a very late answer, but I disagree with the previous answers and felt it would still be relevant to say so.  As anyone who uses both plastic and metal bowls in the kitchen knows, it is NOT possible to thoroughly clean plastic - EVER.  Plastic becomes permeated - permanently - by whatever it comes in contact with (that's why you can't whip egg whites in plastic - because fat from previous uses contaminates your egg foam no matter how clean you think it is!).  Your barrel contained aqueous coating, you say?  Here's what one printing website has to say about that: "the chemicals used in aqueous coating damage press rollers" and therefore it is "more expensive than varnish."  Whoa - you want those chemicals in your compost?  That you're going to use on your garden?  No, no, and no, I would say - don't do it.  Get a food grade barrel.
Then why are so many cutting boards made of plastic?
Food grade just means that the plastic itself is extra clean; like it doesn't contain any bacteria that would make the food spoil. Non food grade could be any kind of plastic. For instance, recycled plastic from containers that previously contained stuff you wouldn't want your food to touch, like old outhouses or something. There could also be chemicals in the non food grade plastic that are poisonous if you eat them. Of course you should also know what was in the barrel before you got it. As long as it's clean, it should be okay.
iPodGuy5 years ago
If you've cleaned it well and there appears to be no residue and no smell, chances are you're OK. The difference between barrels is what was kept in them. Food grade obviously have food, while other barrels have any kind of chemical. Think - it wouldn't be smart to make a compost tumbler from a barrel that used to have herbicide. What you're describing sounds like it will work. Especially if you cleaned it as well as you said you have.