Recycled Plastic Barrels

Published: 22nd December 2009
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Recycled Plastic Barrels are a great product that can easily be transformed to collect and store rainwater for your garden and other outdoor uses. Collecting and Storing rainwater in plastic rain barrels is also a great way to go green and help take the pressure of local water storages, especially in areas that are affected by drought.
Collecting and storing rainwater also has the effect of turning your garden greener which adds value to your home and also provides extra water for vegetable gardens that thrive on rainwater because of its purity and lack of additives and contaminants.
An even more effective way to be greener again though, is to use recycled plastic barrels. Used plastic barrels come ready made to be easily turned into rain barrels and in most cases it's just a case of cleaning them out and they're then ready to store rainwater. It is important first to check what was originally in the plastic barrel. Some plastic barrels are used to store chemicals and it may be quite difficult remove all traces, so be fussy about the where you source your barrels. So by recycling, you're basically cutting out the process of turning one plastic product into another plastic product and just reusing it in more or less its present form.
Recycled plastic barrels are fairly easy to source and once upon a time they were an item that was given away for free. These days though with the increased popularity of rain barrels and with recycled plastic barrels being such an obvious choice to transform into rain barrels, used plastic barrels are now a lot harder to source for free. The good news is though, that plastic barrels can still be sourced relatively inexpensively.
To source recycled plastic barrels the internet is one of the best places to start. Also food processing plants, salvage yards and garage sales are all an option. I managed to source my plastic barrels from a livestock supply outlet that was using them to store grain, so you may be surprised by the places you can source them. The most important point though, is to know what the plastic barrel contained in its past life so you know it's not contaminated. If unsure it's probably best not to use it.
Once you've sourced your recycled plastic barrels it's then just a case of turning them into rain barrels. This is a relatively easy exercise and comes down to sourcing just a few common items from your local hardware store. Basically, the items you'll need to add to you plastic barrel to turn it into a rain barrel are an inlet, an outlet and an overflow. You can also easily add a water level indicator and a stand to raise it off the ground. If you do decide to add a stand though, make sure it is secure enough support the weight as 55 gallons of water weighs about 460 lbs.
The last item you will need to complete the set up will be a downspout diverter. These can be easily sourced over the internet and retail outlets and it does pay to do some research before you do make your purchase as downspout diverters come in many shapes and sizes that do have specific good points and not so good points.
So there you have it. I was easily able to convert two old plastic barrels into some rain barrels. It's a great way to save a few dollars and it's also a great way to recycle plastic barrels without turning them into a completely different plastic products.

You can easily transform recycled plastic barrels into efficient collectors of rain water without it costing you very much at all. Not all plastic rain barrels are the same though. I spent quite a bit of time developing and refining my design and it's all contained in my free eBook How to Make a Rain Barrel. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

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