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Everything you need to know about reconditioned steel drums

Hardy, durable, robust and long lasting, steel drums are a mainstay of the industrial world. These versatile storage and transport containers can hold everything from herbs and spices to chemicals and hazardous waste. With a little reconditioning, they can survive for decades.

Steel drums can be reconditioned time and time again, making them the perfect recyclable storage container. Many people are often unaware whether their steel drum is new or reconditioned, but for most purposes this hardly matters at all. To explain why, we asked our experts at ITP Packaging to give us the rundown on everything you need to know about reconditioned steel drums.

What Are Reconditioned Steel Drums?

Reconditioned steel drums are steel drums that have been cleaned, decontaminated, and purified. In most cases, they are completely indistinguishable from a steel drum that’s fresh off the manufacturing line.

Reconditioned steel drums are put through an incredibly thorough reconditioning process, a process that essentially recycles the drum and makes it as good as new. Your steel drum might be dented, smelly, rusting, or even broken in half, but it can still be completely recycled and reconditioned.

A lot of people confuse this ‘reconditioning’ process with ‘repurposing’, which brings up all sorts of disparities (such as reconditioned drums not being decontaminated or suitable for all uses). Repurposed drums haven’t been recycled, they have been made fit for another use or for another job. This process isn’t as thorough and doesn’t result in a steel drum that’s as good as new.

Are Reconditioned Steel Drums Decontaminated?

Steel drums are commonly used to hold industrial goods, which are often hazardous to human health, corrosive, or dangerous. The good news is that the reconditioning process completely decontaminates the barrel, meaning you can store whatever other goods you need inside.

The process is so thorough that a steel drum previously used to store hazardous waste can be reconditioned, then used to store foodstuffs. As a buyer, you might not even know what was previously held inside the drum, but you can be certain that it’s been completely decontaminated.

Are Reconditioned Steel Drums UN Certified?

As part of the reconditioning process, steel drums have to go through an in-depth certification procedure. Just like new barrels, reconditioned steel drums also need to meet stringent specifications and requirements to be passed fit for duty in the industrial world.

It’s these certifications that allow a buyer to know that the drum is fit for purpose and that it’s been through all the necessary checks and reconditioned to a suitable high standard. Specifically, if reconditioned steel drums are being used in an industrial capacity, they need to be UN certified.

UN certification is internationally recognised and demonstrates that the steel drum is safe for carrying hazardous waste and hazardous substances. Reconditioned drums are recycled to meet these standards.

Can Reconditioned Steel Drums Hold Food and Drink?

Steel drums are often used to store and transport industrial quantities of food and drink, allowing consumable goods to be safely delivered from one country to the next. Steel drums form an integral part of the food supply chain, but consumers are often unaware that many of these steel drums may have been reconditioned.

Steel drums are certified as food-grade or safe for food, and reconditioned drums need to meet these standards to be designated as such. That makes reconditioned steel drums perfectly safe for holding food or drink.

Steel drums are often used in conjunction with drum liners, too, which add another layer of protection to your food and drink when it’s in transit. In short, it doesn’t matter if a steel drum once held pharmaceuticals or petrol, if it’s been reconditioned and certified food grade it’s safe to fill up with consumable goods.

Can All Types of Steel Drum Be Reconditioned?

If you’re researching steel drums, you’ll quickly realise that there are a number of different types of steel drum on the market. Steel drums are manufactured to meet different requirements. As such, they are produced (and reconditioned) with different capacities, size specifications, and types of openings.

The two main types of steel drums are open-head and tight-head drums. Open-head drums have a wide opening at the top, making it easy to pour things into and out of the drums. Tight-head drums are entirely closed aside from a small opening at the top or bottom, which is usually sealed shut with a bung or a tap. Both of these types of steel drums can be reconditioned and recycled to look and function as good as new.

How Many Times Can Steel Drums Be Reconditioned?

Steel drums are an excellent choice for the environment because they can be reconditioned almost indefinitely. The lifespan of a steel drum is incredibly long, as the reconditioning process at recycling plants produces a drum that may as well be fresh out of the factory.

For this reason, steel drums can last for multiple decades, as long as they are reconditioned regularly. Realistically, it’s hard to quantify exactly how many times a steel drum can be reconditioned, as the process can be repeated over and over again, producing remarkably well-reconditioned drums each time.

Can Broken Steel Drums Be Reconditioned?

The reconditioning process doesn’t just clean and decontaminate steel drums. Broken or dented steel drums can be totally revitalised and repaired too.

If a steel drum becomes too broken, dented, or rusted for use, then don’t throw it away. It can be given a new outer layer, holes can be sealed, and coatings re-applied. Even in the worst scenarios, steel drums can be broken down and the parts used to produce new barrels.

Contact ITP Packaging to Learn More About Reconditioned Steel Drums

ITP Packaging stocks a comprehensive range of steel drums that are designed to meet a wide variety of industrial storage and transport needs.

Our expert staff are on hand to help you make the right purchase, and we’re happy to provide more information on purchasing both new and reconditioned steel drums.

Contact ITP Packaging today to find out more.

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