Food Grade Buckets, for FREE

food grade buckets for free

Food grade buckets are a highly wanted commodity in the preparedness word. They have so many different uses, it is unbelievable!  Right now, we are using them 5 different ways in our house!  The hard part is… they can be very expensive, or difficult to find at times.

Good news!  I figured out how you can get food grade buckets for FREE!

Yes… FREE.

It just takes a little bit of investigating and some asking around.  I’ll teach you.

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How to get food grade buckets for free

First off, I’m referring to 2-3 gallon buckets, NOT 5 gallons.  Now, before you get all frustrated, let me tell you, I ONLY wanted the 5-gallon buckets at first too. Then I changed my mind.  Here’s why:

  1. They are smaller and fit in small storage places better
  2. Easier to move around and manage
  3. When filled with wheat, they are much more manageable to lift for us women.  I’m not saying we are weak, I’ve run a marathon, remember?  I’m just saying since they are shorter, they are easier to lift and stack on one another when they are more light weight.
  4. Hello, did I say FREE?

So, here are the steps to getting FREE food grade buckets.

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Step 1:

Find a local grocery store bakery.  I have gotten them from Bakers, Walmart, and Hy-Vee.  But those are just the stores close to me, where you live their might be other ones.  It has to be a big bakery where they make goodies, and lots of them. The local neighborhood Walmart, is too small.

Step 2:

Go up to the bakery and ask them:

Do you have any empty frosting buckets?

Sometimes they ask you what size, or they bring out a small one gallon one.  Just ask if they have anything bigger.  Sometimes they have to ask their manager, or sometimes they just gave the last one away.  It took me 3 stores before I found one where I could consistently get buckets.

The 3 gallon buckets are about 12-13 in high and the same in diameter.  I use them to hold our toys on our toy shelves, and they work great. Plus, it didn’t cost $15 a box that would break easily from my kids.  They dump out the toys and use them as step stools as well.

Download your FREE Food Storage Plan today (shopping lists and recipes included!)

Tips and Tricks

  • For some reason, some managers are picky… I’ve gone to a store a couple times and gotten buckets, but when they get a new manager he won’t give them away. This is frustrating because they just throw it in the garbage.
  • Most of the time the buckets are not clean, they have buttercream frosting in them.  So, on a nice warm day, head outside with water and soap and wash them out.  They’ll dry quickly and you can put them to use right away.  When I go to Hy-Vee, the buckets are already washed out, which is so nice!
  • Wintertime (here in NE) is a better time to find buckets.  In the spring and summer, people get them for garage storage and gardening, so it’s harder to get them.
  • If they don’t have them one week, try again, someone may have just picked up their last ones.

In Conclusion

These buckets are AMAZING!  I like to have at least 5 empty ones stored at all times for when something comes up, which usually does.  We are also going to start storing water in them, since they are easier to carry.   It may take you a few stores to find one that has them, but don’t give up.  It is definitely worth it!

Have you gotten buckets at a store near you?  If so, comment on what town and store below so we have an idea of where to look.

Download your FREE Food Storage Plan today (shopping lists and recipes included!)

Further Reading:

53 Uses for FREE Buckets
DIY 72-hour Kit
Frugal Living

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Thanks for reading. 


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28 thoughts on “Food Grade Buckets, for FREE”

        1. It’s been a while, but I’ve never been able to get any free from Walmart. They tell me they reuse them and won’t even sell them to me. But just 2 months ago I was able to get them at 2 different groceries stores here where I live.

    1. Yolanda Coakley

      Mr. Ramirez,
      How are you? I am starting my organic farm on the outskirts of Jacksonville, FL and would love some buckets. Majority of my family live there and I can have my brother meet you. Thank you.

  1. Any good places in NE Ohio to find buckets? I have found a few but need more. I really like the 5 gallon colored buckets but round white one are ok.. thank you

    1. Home Depot would be the best guess, those will be orange ones. Dunkin donuts (if they have one there) would be another place to get 5 gallon ones, but those would be white.

  2. We get smaller food-grade buckets at BBQ places. (We live in Texas. BBQ everywhere.) Some charge a dollar; some stack them by the back door. They don’t seal as well as ones I’ve purchased new, but work for things like chicken feed, dog food, beans, etc.

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