Where Can You Get Free 55 Gallon Plastic Barrels?

Chloe Meltzer
by Chloe Meltzer

In life, most things are not free, but sometimes you can get lucky. When you can score something for free it always feels good, and often the product seems to work even better than if you bought it.

Especially when it comes to using a big 55 gallon plastic barrels, getting these for free is incredible! Whether you are using them for creating some type of food, brewing your own homemade beer, or planting something inside them, plastic barrels are very useful.

Craigslist, hardware stores, landfills, and car washes are the best places to get a free 55-gallon drum. Waste collection companies and beverage manufacturers often dispose of 55-gallon drums, and you can easily get one from them. People on Facebook Marketplace and spray foam insulation professionals can often give someone a free 55-gallon drum.

What Can I Do With a 55 Gallon Plastic Barrel?

There are many things you can do with a 55 gallon plastic barrel. This might include:

Hold Grains To Eat

If you grow wheat or corn, you can store these in a plastic barrel. You do need to be aware of how to properly store them, and you may also need a lid.

Hold Grain for Horses or Other Animals

This is a great opportunity to hold grain, or even hay for horses and other animals. Either you can feed them directly from the plastic barrel, or simply use it for storage out of the way.

Hold Water for Farm Animals

Water is easily accessible for farm animals in a plastic barrel.

Collect Rainwater

Unless you have an unlimited water source, everyone can always use a bit more water. Using a 55 gallon plastic barrel to gather rainwater is extremely eco friendly, and a great idea. Make sure the plastic barrel is clean and free of toxins before placing it out to catch the rainwater.

Grow Plants

Simply fill a plastic barrel with soil and fertilizer, then plant anything you wish! 55 gallon barrels are even big enough to fit a tree. You could grow a fruit tree, an olive tree, or anything you wish. After it gets too big for the barrel you can transplant somewhere else.

Have a Worm Farm

Simply throw a load of dirt into your free barrel and buy some worms. These worms can grow and exist in the barrel. When you want to add some healthy soil to your garden just take a scoop from your barrel.


Another very eco-friendly idea is to compost in a plastic barrel. This is wonderful for the earth and can make incredibly fertile soil for gardening.

Store Toys or Sports Equipment

If you are looking for somewhere to store balls and bats then a large plastic barrel can be a great location!

Where to Get a Free Plastic Barrel?

Beverage Manufacturers

Beverage-makers typically use big plastic barrels to store their product. This business might include breweries, wineries, soft drink companies, and juice manufacturers. Anywhere where they might make bottled and canned drinks.

Car Washes

For car wash businesses, they typically receive their soap in 55 gallon plastic barrels. This means that they may be willing to give you a few of their old ones for free.

Be aware that the soap that is used to wash your car is not the same soap that you use to wash your hands. This means if you are planning to use these drums for anything that you might eat or drink, you need to clean them properly.

Waste Collection Companies

Industrial waste collection companies typically transport their waste in barrels. Although this might be a good method of obtaining free barrels, you need to be extremely careful when going this route.

Especially if you plan to use your barrels for food products or plants, you may want to avoid any barrels that human waste has been in.

Hardware Stores

Hardware stores can often receive products in 55 gallon plastic barrels. This means if you come on the right day, they may be willing to give you the empty ones for free. If you go by and ask politely, you can also ask for them to notify you, or save the barrels for you.

Spray Foam Insulation Companies

For companies that perform spray-foam insulation, they often keep their actual product in barrels. Unfortunately, this insulation does leave a chemical residue which means that you cannot use them for food without properly washing. Despite this, the good part about that residue is that companies sometimes have trouble recycling them. This means they may be willing to give them to you for free.


Craigslist is the ultimate place on the internet to find almost anything. There is specifically a “free” section of craigslist. Here you can either search for free 55 gallon plastic barrels, or you can make a post. This will allow people to contact you if they happen to want to get rid of their barrels.


Also known as a “dump”, landfills are where all trash goes after we throw it out. The negative aspect of this method is that you will have literally no idea what these barrels were previously used for. This means it is a bit dangerous to use them for anything in regards to food.

What is the Difference Between a Drum and a Barrel?

There is not much of a difference between a drum and a barrel. Typically barrels are known for being made of wood to brew wine. Drums are typically made of steel and can be used for making beer, or storing oil.

Barrels can also be commonly made of plastic, and come in 55 gallon sizes. This 55 gallon platic barrel is a specific type of barrel and is well known in many industries.

In Summary

There are many places that might be willing to give you a 55-gallon barrel for free. The difference is that the number of barrels they will be willing to give you can vary.

Always be sure that they are clean, or at least have been used for something that is non-toxic to humans. Expect your free barrels to have defects, but if you use these barrels for something such as plants, you will have no problems.

Related Questions

How much does a 55-gallon plastic barrel normally cost?

Barrels can be made of steel, plastic, or Vestil fiber, but 55 gallon plastic barrels will be the cheapest out of all of them. If you look at the prices of plastic barrels, they are typically as low as $45. This might seem low, but they can also cost up to $100 or more depending on where it is purchased from. 

Can I resell my 55-gallon plastic barrels?

Since it is quite easy to get these for free, it is most likely that you cannot resell it. Although, if you really want to try, you can attempt to do so on eBay or craigslist.

What if I cannot find a free barrel?

If you cannot find a free barrel then you may need to simply purchase one. You can find barrels for purchase from stores such as The Cary Company, Global Industrial, The Home Depot, or even on eBay.

Chloe Meltzer
Chloe Meltzer

Real estate agent and copywriter, originally from California. Chloe brings her real estate expertise into her writing to create effective and helpful home guides for you! When not writing or selling homes, she spends her time as a digital nomad traveling the world.

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