What Are The Best Food Grade Plastic Storage Containers

What Are The Best Food Grade Plastic Storage Containers

What Are The Best Food Grade Plastic Storage Containers?

Not all plastic storage containers or boxes with a lid are created equal. This is especially true when it comes to long term food storage containers. If you want to safely store anything you can eat or drink, you definitely want to be sure it’s safe for you and your family.

In a previous post, we told you about the classic metal “Jerry” cans. Those are really good for their intended use: storing just about anything except food and drinking water. For example, those green metal cans are perfect for storing oils and non-potable water, or feed and pesticides. Basically, anything you can put into a machine (but not fuel), feed to livestock or spread onto your land. But which plastic cans and buckets are made to safely store food and drinking water? Where can you get your hands on commercial bulk food storage containers?

Plastic Jerry cans and storage containers come in many different types of materials, and each has its specific purpose as well as limitations. Whether you’re a survivalist, concerned about emergency preparedness, or just into food storage and home-brewing, there are a few things you should be aware of when purchasing plastic food storage containers.

We’ve put together a helpful overview of the different types of plastics and their uses. (The #s you’ll see refer to the triangular “recycle” symbol usually found on the bottom of plastic containers.)


Food Grade Plastic — Safe for Storing Food and Beverages

Plastic #1: PET or PETE – (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

PET is clear, strong and lightweight plastic that is good for storing water and food for the long term. It’s commonly used for beverages and some food items:

  • Bottled water
  • Soft drinks
  • Juices
  • Salad dressing
  • Peanut butter

Plastic #2: HDPE – (High Density Polyethylene)

HDPE is impact-resistant, opaque or semi-opaque, and weather resistant. It’s commonly used to store food and beverage, as well as some non-food items:

  • Milk
  • Distilled water
  • Snack foods
  • Butter or margarine
  • Cereal box liners
  • Motor oil
  • Shampoo

Like PET, HDPE is a very easily recycled plastic. HDPE is strong, which is why a plastic jug that weighs very little when empty can hold a gallon of milk without bursting. HDPE is impact-resistant and relatively durable. There are several durable food-grade buckets that are made from HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) that work great for storing food or water for the long-term.

Non-recycled HDPE plastic is food safe. It’s great for making food safe plastic containers since it resists corrosion, doesn't absorb much moisture and doesn't leach chemicals. Recycled HDPE products, however, are reviewed by the FDA on a case-by-case basis, but are not always regarded as food safe.

A word of caution if you’re thinking of repurposing used HDPE containers. For instance, used milk jugs aren’t good for water storage unless they are completely cleaned and sanitized, which is not easy to do properly. Of course, if an HDPE container has had anything other than food inside, do not re-use it for food storage!

Plastics Not Safe for Food Storage

Plastic #3: PVC – (Polyvinyl Chloride)

Plastic #6: PS - (Polystyrene)

Other Plastic #7: - (can contain various plastics, such as Bisphenol A (BPA))


No matter your food and beverage storage needs, be sure to make safe and responsible choices for you and your family. At Coleman’s we specialize in finding dependable, rugged, durable and affordable items for any outdoor and emergency preparedness situation you might encounter. That’s why we’re proud to feature two HDPE food grade plastic storage containers.

The Thermo Scientific Nalgene HDPE 10-liter Jerry Can ranks as one of the highest quality containers ever produced. These cans are designed for safe, convenient storage of liquids and feature an angled spout and molded handle. Ideal for water storage, prepping, home-brewing, mixing, food-grade liquids, or storing waste oil. Offered as a six-pack of cans, they’re all in new/unused condition, and proudly made in the USA.

We also carry HDPE 5-Gallon Handled Containers. Expertly built for safe, convenient storage just like the Jerry Cans, these are heavy duty HDPE plastic containers each with a folding handle. They are also made-in-the-USA and in new/unused condition as well, so you know they’re safe and clean.

Here at Coleman’s, we work hard to track down the best military surplus we can get our hands on, and this certainly includes any surplus storage containers we can find. Whether it be general purpose storage containers, ammo boxes, trunks, bins, waterproof storage containers, we take a great deal of pride in offering a wide variety of genuine surplus containers to our customers.