Leveraging IBC Totes Across Various Industries for Effective Bulk Storage

Leveraging IBC Totes Across Various Industries for Effective Bulk Storage


Intermediate Bulk Containers, also known as IBC tanks or totes, are essential storage solutions for a multitude of industries. Ranging from food manufacturing to chemical processing, IBC tanks are renowned for their durability, cost-effectiveness, and versatility. This post will detail the aspects of IBC tanks, their applications across different sectors, and important considerations when using them for specific purposes like drinking water storage.

IBC Totes: An Overview:

IBC totes are large, rectangular or square storage containers primarily designed to store and transport liquids in bulk. Equipped with valves and nozzles, they facilitate easy filling and emptying. Moreover, these containers, made from food-grade materials, can be reused, recycled, cleaned, repaired, and disinfected, thereby promoting sustainability.

Industrial IBC totes, tailored for manufacturing environments, feature protective cages, pallets, nozzles, and valves. They are stackable, allowing optimal space utilization, and can be easily moved using industrial equipment, such as forklifts.

Applications of IBC Totes:

IBC totes are incredibly versatile, utilized across diverse industries for various storage needs:

  1. Food and Beverage Industry: Bulk storage and shipment of food-grade ingredients.

  2. Automotive, Pharma, Medical Industries: Transporting and storing liquids, oils, and chemicals.

  3. Household Use: Long-term storage of drinking water or rainwater.

  4. Fuel Storage: Suitable for petrol, diesel, and other fuels.

  5. Fracking: Used for storing water and fracking fluids.

  6. Paint and Chemical Industry: Ideal for storing paint, herbicides, pesticides, and hazardous waste.

  7. Pharmaceuticals: Safe storage for medical liquids.

  8. Alcohol Industry: Ideal for storing spirits and wines.

Composition of IBC Containers:

IBC tanks are primarily made from HDPE (high-density polyethylene), a robust, recyclable, and non-reactive plastic polymer. This material doesn't contaminate or react with the stored liquids, making it ideal for diverse storage applications.

Optional steel cages can further safeguard HDPE IBC water tanks, while a steel pallet facilitates easy movement and stacking. Galvanized steel used in these cages and pallets offers superior durability. Some IBC totes also feature wooden pallets, which are more economical but less reusable.

IBC tanks can also feature additional protection like UV-resistant and dustproof covers.

IBC Tank Sizes:

The most common IBC tote sizes in the United States are 275 and 330 gallons, but they can range anywhere from 50 to 500 gallons. Standard IBC tanks hold 1,000 liters, and when full, they can weigh over 1,000 pounds. Despite this, industrial equipment can easily maneuver these totes.

Storing Rainwater in IBC Tanks:

IBC tanks are perfect for rainwater storage. They're commonly installed outdoors for rainwater collection and storage for various purposes such as garden watering or backup supplies - a practice known as IBC rainwater harvesting.

However, caution must be exercised when purchasing used IBC totes for rainwater or drinking water storage, as some could have held hazardous chemicals. Ideally, new IBC totes are recommended for storing drinking water.

Storing Drinking Water in IBC Tanks:

IBC tanks are suitable for storing large quantities of drinking water for personal use, events, or in rural areas where rainwater is collected and disinfected. However, when using IBC tanks for drinking water storage, consider the following:

  1. Never use IBCs that have previously held hazardous materials.

  2. "Food Grade" doesn't always mean safe to use. Some IBCs used in food production could contain high concentrations of food manufacturing chemicals, making them unsafe for drinking water storage.

  3. Store IBC water tanks in cool conditions, preferably undercover. UV-resistant covers can be beneficial in this regard.

  4. Regularly rotate your drinking water every six months to ensure its freshness.

  5. Discard water that has been in the tank for too long.


IBC tanks offer versatile, cost-effective, and robust storage solutions for various industries. However, when using them for water storage, particularly drinking water, it's crucial to observe the best practices to ensure safety. Contact us for any questions or queries regarding IBC totes – we're here to help!

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