Stores That Hand Out 5-Gallon Buckets [Free 5-Gallon Buckets]

I don’t know about you, but I’m using five-gallon buckets for tons of stuff, and getting them free 5-gallon buckets is a gamechanger.

I mix compost in them, take the fish home, and brew compost tea in them. And if I can get those 5-gallon buckets free of charge, then I’m well on the road to self-sufficiency.

These buckets are one of the best survival things you’ve probably never given a thought about. You may be curious if you can use 5-gallon containers and how you can get them for free. We highly recommend that you get those containers free of charge. You don’t just do yourself a favor.

These buckets you get for free will potentially end up in a landfill where they eventually degrade. No one wants plastic to come into our ecosystem! 

This touches on another important point – try to be eco-friendly. Here is a decent guide to start.

To save you some work, we’ve assembled a list of stores that offer out their buckets for free.

We have a list of shops that don’t give them away as well. Few retailers are recycling their bins. Others are taking them back to the suppliers. And a lot of them give them out. Firstly, let’s take a look at a few of the different things you can do with these buckets.

The list is endless when it comes to using 5-gallon buckets. There are so many uses that I can never name them all. With that said, there are several potential uses for them:

DIY Home Gardens

You could fill your buckets with soil and cultivate your own vegetables. If you don’t have a lot of space, it’s a perfect way to get a garden going. You can transform one of these buckets into a hanging tomato planter, too.

Rice Grower

Growing your own rice may never have happened to you, but it can be done with a 5-gallon container. Not only is it quick, but you’re going to end up with fresh, free rice!

Mushroom Grower

You will use these buckets to cultivate your own mushroom. This is a straightforward way to get some fresh, free mushrooms.

Soap-Making Basin

These buckets can be handy when it comes to producing soap. You should use the bucket as a basin to combine the ingredients.

Portable Shower

All you need is tubing and a shower head to make a DIY shower out of a 5-gallon bucket. This will be ideal for a shower if you don’t have easy access to water.

Here is a list of all the free survival gear.

Storage Containers

There is no denying that 5-gallon buckets will make the perfect storage bins. You could use them to hold almost anything like grain or pet food.

Transporting Things

As I described above, I’m using these buckets to transport fish. Through them, you can transport almost anything. The greatest thing about it is that you can even carry these buckets discreetly.

Composting Toilet

We all cock our heads funny when we see the five-gallon bucket toilets, but they do their job. Dealing with industrial waste can be an immense challenge when the time comes. However, using these toilets is much simpler to move and dispose of garbage, preventing significant bacterial infections.

If you want debouchage managed, check there.

Portable Toilet

You can create your own portable toilet with a 5-gallon bucket and pool noodles that you can use to make a comfortable bench. You should take this toilet while you’re camping or on the drive.

Laundry Basin

Why do you waste a fortune in a laundry room? Let me tell you something – you don’t have to? If you don’t have power, you should use a 5-gallon bucket to wash your clothes.


You could use 5-gallon buckets to make DIY “seats.”


You could use the buckets to make a DIY bucket lamp.

Drink Cooler

Five-gallon containers could make a lot of coolers. You could keep your drinks cold all day by adding some ice.

Chicken Feeder/Waterer

Instead of wasting a fortune on a chicken feeder and waterer, you may want to try making your own DIY 5-gallon bucket chicken feeder. Not only can your chickens be well-fed, but you can do this DIY project for free. You can make chicken coops out of these buckets.

Tree Waterers

If you have newly planted trees that need watering, the 5-gallon buckets are big enough that you can get a lot of water to your trees pretty quickly.

Air Conditioner

You should make a DIY air conditioner out of one of those buckets for cheap.

Rainwater Harvester

If you’re interested in storing your own rain, there’s no better way to do that than with barrels. You may use rainwater in several ways, such as watering the plants or drinking after filtration.


You can build a 5-gallon bucket house. You could use buckets to make walls.” The shelter you’re constructing from these buckets can look like an igloo.


If you’re interested in raising your own bees, you’re lucky. These buckets could make a large beehive.

Deer Feeder

If you want to lure a deer to your property so that you can hopefully hunt them, a 5-gallon bucket might be the solution.

Stores That Hand Out 5-Gallon Buckets For Free

Many supermarkets and restaurants, such as Chick-Fil-A, have their cut goods and food in sturdy 5-gallon plastic containers, and these buckets cannot be reused for their original purpose.

These buckets are more durable than those available in hardware stores for $13 to $17 each, and the buckets often have a snap-on lid. 

An average store can empty between three and nine buckets a week, depending on the season. It’s inconvenient for most small companies to recycle buckets, so they’re giving them away!

I frequently visit a local chain burger joint and collect rinsed buckets set aside to pick up when I drop by. I offer them free to friends and neighbors and to a foundation that supports local residents.

You could do the same thing in your neighborhood, or you could have a couple for yourself. Bakeries, supermarkets, and baking shops also get supplies in buckets, and they’re all much easier to disinfect than buckets used to transport paint and drywall compounds.

Several stores give away 5-gallon containers free of charge. So here’s a rundown of some of the locations where people found them. Here is exactly where to get free 5-gallon buckets:

  • Sam’s Club
  • Sherwin William’s
  • Safeway
  • Kroger’s bakery department
  • Meijer’s bakery department
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Wendy’s
  • Tim Hortons
A couple of areas where people have not been successful in collecting five-gallon buckets are:
  • Cosco – They return them to the producer.
  • Walmart – It seems not to be a cooperative as you call them, but they have buckets available when you visit the bakery.
  • McDonald’s – They said they don’t give them out.
  • Golden Corral – Apparently, don’t get any 5-gallon buckets.
  • SubWay – Don’t get their pickles in buckets.

This list is not yet complete. Let’s hope that some of you have managed to get your five-gallon buckets free of cost. If so, please post your stories in the comments below so that we can add them to them.

Buying 5-Gallon Buckets

Bear in mind that we cannot individually promise that the stores mentioned above can supply you with free buckets. These are just some of the locations they’ve been known to deliver in the past. If you can’t find free 5-gallon buckets in your town, you may feel discouraged.

You certainly won’t want to miss out on the many perks that these buckets have to bring. Luckily, there’s some positive fortune. 

Although I strongly recommend searching out stores that give away free 5-gallon buckets first and taking advantage of some free buckets, you can get your hands on them and buy them on Amazon at a fair price.

What I don’t recommend is that you don’t have any 5-gallon containers. There are just as many potential uses for them that you won’t want to miss out on.

Final Thoughts

5-gallon buckets are amazing things that have endless uses! And, if you can get a 5-gallon bucket for free, then you should. 

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10 thoughts on “Stores That Hand Out 5-Gallon Buckets [Free 5-Gallon Buckets]”

  1. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I am inspired!
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  2. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! This information is quite helpful to me as a home winemaker.

  3. Hy-Vee bakeries will have them too! Sometimes they receive larger than 5 gallons! They go through TONS of frosting! I used to work at a Hy-Vee (liquor department) but they usually seemed to always have them cleaned out for customers. Just ask and they’ll give them to you if they have them! The lids are also very durable too!

  4. Meijer’s bakery and Kroger bakery will let you have them for free, you may have to clean it yourself, but Kroger’s have always had them cleaned out. Check every few days because they will discard them. I hope this helps

  5. Firehouse subs sell them for 5 bucks. They had pickles but I fill them up with water and baking soda and the smell goes away.

  6. I’ve gotten a few buckets at a Char-Hut. They held pickles, so it takes a little work to get the scent out. Try to get the lids-they’re pretty sturdy. Better than those at HD, Lowes, etc, I think.


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