How to Increase the Lifespan of Your Steel Drum

210 litre Tight Head steel Drum black

Steel drums are not only incredibly versatile pieces of industrial equipment, they’re fantastically cost-effective too.

That’s because steel drums are designed to be used time and time again. Even old, used steel drums can be repaired, repurposed and entirely recycled and reconditioned.

In fact, with a little care and attention alongside appropriate storage and handling procedures, it’s easy to increase the lifespan of a steel drum indefinitely.

Can Steel Drums Be Reused?

Steel drums are designed to be reused indefinitely. The average lifespan of a steel drum is as long as 20 years, and that’s before it’s broken down and recycled. Many steel drums sold as new are actually used steel drums that have been totally reconditioned – there’s no difference between these and brand new steel drums off the factory floor.

Before they need to be recycled, used steel drums can be repeatedly filled with industrial materials. They are the ultimate recyclable object, which means that steel drums are not only incredibly cost-effective, but excellent for the environment, too.

When Can a Steel Drum Not Be Reused?

Of course, you can’t simply fill a steel drum, empty it, then refill it with any materials you like. Health and safety are important in all industrial settings, so steel drums should only ever be reused with the same goods and materials, unless they’ve gone through a thorough decontamination process.

Cross-contamination can be dangerous, so a steel drum that has previously held chemicals or hazardous waste should never be reused to hold other chemicals (there could be an unwanted chemical reaction) or foodstuffs, fuels, water, or other types of hazardous waste.

Used steel drums always need to be cleaned and decontaminated before they can safely be reused. In certain (rather rare) circumstances where highly volatile chemicals or extremely dangerous hazardous waste has been stored in steel drums, then reconditioning rather than simply reusing is the safest option.

Can Steel Drums Be Repaired When Damaged?

Steel drums are robust, heavy-duty industrial storage solutions, but like any piece of equipment, they aren’t invincible.

Stainless steel is the steel of choice, which protects the drum from rusting and corrosion, but over time used steel drums will see wear and tear.

Drums that start to corrode or rust can be easily repaired and reused. Rust can be removed and the steel re-galvanised to protect it from further corrosion.

Used steel drums that have suffered from physical damage – for example, dropped from height, dented, damaged, etc. – can also be repaired with the right tools and equipment. Holes can be safely plugged up, dents worked out of the drum, and fixtures and fittings repaired.

If used steel drums are damaged, it’s always best to seek professional help for repairs.

Tips to Increase the Longevity of Steel Drums

You can increase the lifespan of steel drums by following a few simple rules. Here are our tips to help you to increase the longevity of steel drums.

1. Always Use Drum Liners

Steel drums are most effective when they’re used in conjunction with drum liners. Drum liners are internal liners that keep the solids or liquids being stored from coming into contact with the steel drum.

This stops the steel from being contaminated by potentially harmful or corrosive substances, while also protecting the goods being stored. Drum liners are cost-effective and can often be reused or recycled.

2. Always Clean Steel Drums After Use

Steel drums always need to be thoroughly cleaned after use. The method of cleaning will vary depending on the materials that have been stored inside. For example, special cleaning equipment may be required if chemicals have been stored within.

If different types of materials, chemicals or hazardous waste are stored in drums, the drums need to be cleaned and professionally decontaminated.

3. Always Store Steel Drums in Appropriate Conditions

Steel drums need to be stored in appropriate conditions if they are to last indefinitely. High temperatures and major temperature fluctuations can affect the lifespan of the goods inside a steel drum, and the drum itself.

Likewise, dusty conditions aren’t great for steel drums, while lots of moisture can cause the steel to rust over an extended period of time. Where possible, keep steel drums in cool, dry conditions and out of direct sunlight.

Contact ITP Packaging to Find Out More About Steel Drums

Steel drums are one of the most cost-effective pieces of industrial storage equipment that your business can invest in because they can be used repeatedly. Steel drums can be reused, repurposed, repaired, and eventually reconditioned and recycled.

If you’re looking to source high quality new, reconditioned or used steel drums for your business, contact ITP Packaging for more information.

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