How to Recycle Buckets

by Ruth de Jauregui

The stack of buckets rises in a corner of the garage or shed as the painting project continues. Once the water-based latex is washed from the bucket, it becomes disposable scrap or a valuable repurposed item. From plastic toy buckets to 5-gallon paint buckets, recycling is a green way to dispose of unwanted rigid plastic containers.

Recycling Buckets

Local waste management or city regulations determine how rigid plastic buckets, such as 5-gallon construction or paint buckets, should be recycled. In general, buckets may be placed in the recycle bins at the curb for pickup on trash day, unless they held hazardous chemicals. Contact the waste management company to determine where buckets that held roofing tar, herbicides or hazardous materials are taken for disposal.

Repurposing Buckets

Clean buckets are easily repurposed into car washing buckets, garden tool holders, storage containers, toy carriers and planters. If a 5-gallon bucket has a hole in the bottom, use it to water trees by filling it with water once for every one half-inch of tree trunk -- a tree with a 1-inch diameter trunk needs 10 gallons of water once or twice weekly -- and allowing the water to seep into the soil. Put the lid tightly on the bucket if no children or pets are in the area to prevent a drowning hazard.

About the Author

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui also worked in the Napa Valley as a high-end catering assistant. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement, pet rescue and social issues.

Photo Credits

  • Robert Kyllo/Hemera/Getty Images