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Any companies cleaning re-usable food grade drums?


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TimG

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 02:45 PM

Apparently COVID has killed the supply of 40 gallon drums, and we're looking into options for reusing drums. One idea I'm kicking around is having them cleaned back to food grade standards, but I don't think I can manage that in my plant.

Anyone familiar with any companies that might offer a service like this? The idea is we would have our customers ship them a load of emptied plastic drums, they sanitize and seal, and then send them to us.

 

At this point we're ready to pay more than the damn drums cost new just to get this done.


Edited by TimG, 22 October 2021 - 02:49 PM.


MDaleDDF

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 04:03 PM

Yeah Tim, we do that.   Have been for years.   The blue 55 gallon drums for transferring soybean oil.   Samo samo.   Wash, dry, sanitize, swab.  We only use a few or I dare say it would be quite a pain.

I've never heard of a service doing it though.



TimG

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 04:19 PM

Yeah, I don't see any way to wash, dry, sanitize, swab here with our current resources. Considering we drum less than 1% of our final product (50, 1k, or 2k lb bags typical) the only way I can see it working is to sublet it out.

Apparently the customer (tobacco product manufacturing) is close to shut down if we can't figure something out. If I can find a company willing and able to clean these drums back to FCC standards, I can go back to the customer and start seeing exactly how much it's worth to them ($$ talk).



Alex V.

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 06:22 PM

Dunno what your product is, but could you switch to a lined drum?  then you can get the customer to ship the drums back and you add a new liner.  



TimG

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 06:30 PM

Dunno what your product is, but could you switch to a lined drum?  then you can get the customer to ship the drums back and you add a new liner.  

 

Good idea sir, but we ran that one by the customer a few weeks ago and they shot it down. They said the way their process is set up they wouldn't be able to keep the liner out of the product.

 

I have one customer who is warming to the idea of sealing them as soon as they dump, with a truck seal style seal, then sending them back to us with an agreement we will only use them to send back to that specific customer. But no one else seems keen to agree to that, and quite frankly I don't feel super comfortable with it because even though we will have an agreement from them, I'm pretty sure we're still responsible if someone at their facility decides to use it as a port-o-potty prior to sealing it and sending it to us.



pHruit

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Posted 23 October 2021 - 09:59 AM

Do you have any large contract warehouses/liquid blenders anywhere near you?

I've used one of these for cleaning returnable IBCs - it wasn't a service they formally offered, but they had the kit in place so we managed to come to an agreement. Could be worth a look if you're out of other options.

Presume you're not using anything that is strongly flavoured? The biggest headache with the IBC washing was controlling which IBCs were used for what, as the plastic is pretty good at picking up taints from flavourings.



TimG

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 12:43 PM

No flavors, it's  >99% assay ammonium chloride.

And I've been trying to reach out to a semi local bottled water supplier, as I'd imagine their bottle cleaning/sealing would be similar. 



pHruit

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 02:03 PM

Further thought - do you know of any companies that operate closed-loop schemes for things like returnable IBCs?

Some of these will have nice big automated lines set up that could do exactly what you're looking for. Again it might not be something they usually offer a separate service, but it's potentially worth asking the question.






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