PDA

View Full Version : 5 gallon plastic water bottle - safe?



Boogaloo
11-09-2011, 09:18 AM
Some neighbors of mine tossed out four 5 gallon plastic water bottles this morning. I threw them into my car on the way to work. Will these work good for mead making or should I just recycle them?

Oh.. and on Monday a neighbor tossed out a 5 gallon GLASS bottle. Awesome find!

~Boogaloo

Loadnabox
11-09-2011, 09:22 AM
Plastic PET bottles are OK. Double check that the recycling logo on the bottom has a #2 in it and that should be fine....For primary fermentation.

Remember that plastic can absorb tastes/smells.

Also, PET bottles are fine for Primary, but tend to have a higher air exchange rate making them less desirable for long term aging. Basically, they let enough air in that you could end up with vinegar instead of wine. Primary is fine because it's producing so much CO2 that it doesn't matter (and it's a short enough time)

Boogaloo
11-09-2011, 09:27 AM
Excellent! Thanks for the reply. I'll use them for primary only. ;D

dshadows37
11-09-2011, 03:01 PM
Keep in mind too that if there are any seams in the plastic, that those seams are excellent places for bacteria to harbor and are very difficult to properly sanitize. This is one of the other reasons why recycled water bottles are generally not recommended.

Boogaloo
11-09-2011, 03:09 PM
Hmmmm.. what's a possible solution for these bacteria in the seams? How about I soak the bottle for a week in a bleach or iodophor solution? Maybe a brine?

Chevette Girl
11-09-2011, 05:10 PM
I'd recommend against a LONG bleach soak, I had a plastic travel mug I had to soak in bleach once (a garlic incident) and it took weeks for it to taste like anything but bleach :p

Boogaloo
11-10-2011, 08:57 AM
Well, to my dismay the bottles had a 7 in the triangle and was listed as OTHER. They had some arrows pointing at some numbers but I didn't look into it because it didn't have the # 2. Sucks!

JamesP
11-10-2011, 09:01 PM
I've used those blue water fountain bottles for a primary before, and they are fine.

Using sodium bi-meta or K-bimeta is fine for cleaning. Same as for sanitising any carboy.

They probably won't be scratched on the inside, which is what you need to worry about, but do check for scratches around the spout.

I leave a mild bi-meta solution in them if I am storing them for a while.

Bi-meta will kill any rubber bungs or grommets with time, but not the #7 plastic.

SharinMartos
12-23-2011, 03:53 AM
Plastic PET bottles are OK. Double check that the recycling logo on the bottom has a #2 in it and that should be fine....For primary fermentation.

Remember that plastic can absorb tastes/smells.

Also, PET bottles are fine for Primary, but tend to have a higher air exchange rate making them less desirable for long term aging. Basically, they let enough air in that you could end up with vinegar instead of wine. Primary is fine because it's producing so much CO2 that it doesn't matter (and it's a short enough time)

Superb advice, Boogaloo you must follow this, throwing those bottle will not be good for our environment. So just send those plastic bottles for recycling. There are many recycling bins available to recycle such bottles and plastic scraps, further companies like Replas use this recycled plastics to create many recycled plastic products such as, plastic Tree Guards, plastic Stair Treads and bollards, plastic signage and number of items!! By thus you will accomplish the responsibility of cleaning our enviornment!

fong song
12-23-2011, 06:07 AM
How about PET bottles with a 1 inside a recycling triangle?
I have a few brews going in them and have aged things for a long time in some.
I also have some in apple juice bottles with a 7 inside a recyling triangle and on the same bottle a 5 inside a recycling triangle. They have been in there for a long time.

fatbloke
12-23-2011, 01:02 PM
How about PET bottles with a 1 inside a recycling triangle?
I have a few brews going in them and have aged things for a long time in some.
I also have some in apple juice bottles with a 7 inside a recyling triangle and on the same bottle a 5 inside a recycling triangle. They have been in there for a long time.
As far as I'm aware, both PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and HDPE (high density polyethylene) are fine for most stages of fermentation.

Some of the myth of hazard is from earlier plastics where there was a "plasticiser" that would leach into the contents. That is now a known hazard and has been banned in most locations - hence the rise of the phrase "food grade".

Now, that said, it should be remembered that alcohol is a solvent. Plastic use in the alcoholic beverage industry, still seems to be for lower strength drinks, or shorter term storage - think along the lines of what actually comes in plastic i.e. beers and ciders, most of which tend to be sold with a 1 year use by date (and yes, I know that in some cases, "use by" dates are there, solely for legal reasons).

When it comes to wines, it also seems that it's mainly the cheaper stuff that is meant to be drunk relatively young - think along the lines of wines that are available "in a box". The bladder in the box is plastic, but it's lined with some sort of metallic coating, though whether that's a protective thing, or just related to oxidation and possible light damage, I don't know. All of the more expensive wines still seem to be in glass. Whether that's a snobbery thing that emanates from the established "old world" (think places like France etc.), or whether it's because glass is inert, I don't know.

In most of the markets, spirits seem to be sold mainly in glass. Yes, it might be shipped around the place in bulk i.e. stainless steel, it's still, apparently, generally sold in glass. Presumably because the higher levels of alcohol content are likely to increase the drinks ability as a solvent. Of course, if you can, you could still use "stone jars" i.e. bottles made from a ceramic material, but they're often precluded for cost effectiveness.

Of course, you will know your own region and the general levels of temperature and humidity i.e. two of the things that can affect what's going on in a brew with "wine like" qualities.

"Better Bottles" are PET, I believe and are suitable for fermentation and other processes. I'm not convinced of their usefulness when it comes to long term storage and ageing. I'd rather stick to glass for that part.

Water Cooler bottles, are generally made from polycarbonate, which is fine for water, yet very slightly air permeable. They can pick up both staining and some odour. I have access to these and have used them successfully for fermenting etc, but any that become, in any way, stained or smelly, get dumped (recycled).

Without a good dig around the net, I don't have any links that explain the numbers used on the recycling marks, and whether they related to the actual material used in the manufacture or not, or whether it's just the level or type of recycling/reuse they can stand.

Dunno if that's of any use.......

Lawpaw
12-23-2011, 04:35 PM
I bulk age in PET. It has almost no permeability, certainly less than a barrel or bottle with cork. You likely have greater O2 penetration from your bung than the plastic itself.

They are also not effected by alcohol. Cheap hard liquor has been sold in PET for years; and sometimes sits for years.

I have glass and plastic. Plastic is a lot easier to work with. I even vac rack between plastic containers. It sucks in extensively, which isn't a problem if you have a good layer of sediment. Its stronger than you'd think, don't be scared by how it looks like its imploding.

SharinMartos
12-24-2011, 05:03 AM
How about PET bottles with a 1 inside a recycling triangle?
I have a few brews going in them and have aged things for a long time in some.
I also have some in apple juice bottles with a 7 inside a recyling triangle and on the same bottle a 5 inside a recycling triangle. They have been in there for a long time.

These are not harmful, safer than the others.
Mostly used for plastic soda and water bottles, easier to recycle.
So as per the properties of plastics these are classified in such numbers!!!
Recycled plastic (http://www.replas.com.au/)

fatbloke
12-24-2011, 05:49 AM
I bulk age in PET. It has almost no permeability, certainly less than a barrel or bottle with cork. You likely have greater O2 penetration from your bung than the plastic itself.
I believe it's the point of use of natural materials i.e. cork/wood/etc (well partly anyway). They can have a dual purpose (as it transpires). Cork, like wood, allow for micro oxidation. Not usually enough to be a problem, except after many decades - which seems to mirror the barrel oak, but with the barrels, it's also about obtaining some of the flavouring i.e. tannins, vanilins and other trace chems in the wood (not forgetting that even wine barrels are invariably "toasted" inside, though not to the levels of spirits barrels)



-----%<----- Cheap hard liquor has been sold in PET for years; and sometimes sits for years.
Yes, I understood this to be the case, yet it does still seem to be the cheaper types that are designed for a quick turnover - pretty much all of the expensive makes/brands/types seem to be in glass - of course, it could be, as previously mentioned, an industry snobbery issue, or just a marketing/branding thing, yet it does seem that some of the commercial producers will use glass for that very reason i.e. it's inertness in the presence of alcohol.



I have glass and plastic. Plastic is a lot easier to work with. I even vac rack between plastic containers. It sucks in extensively, which isn't a problem if you have a good layer of sediment. Its stronger than you'd think, don't be scared by how it looks like its imploding.
I too have both, yet I make sure that when it's time for ageing, it's in glass.

I don't tend to vacuum rack or filter from plastics, as while it's probably fine, I have no way of detecting any moulding flaws that might surface under vacuum and my batches are invariably 1 gallon (imp), so I don't like the idea of losing a whole batch if the container did fail (mess, expense, etc).

JohnS
12-29-2011, 04:58 PM
I have several Hinkle Schmitt water 5 gallon water bottles.

I asked my friend that owns a HB shop if they would be ok to use. He said that glass was the way to go. His argument was that glass easier to sanitize. With glass if you scratch the plastic there would be a risk of contamination. Also with glass you can use must or wort. With plastic it has to be either or, never both.

So my question is would I be able to use these Hinkle Schmitt bottles even though they have a handle on them where liquid can be stored?

I am not sure if the previous poster have a bottle that does not have these handles.

Lawpaw
12-29-2011, 08:50 PM
The either/or isn't really true. A good PETE bottle doesn't absorb orders or anything else (like yeast). Better Bottles certainly aren't either/or bottles.

Plastic bucket fermentors aren't either/or; I know people who use them for beer and wine. The HDPE of the fermentors is certainly more prone to absorbe things.

JohnS
12-30-2011, 01:50 AM
I found this website that is a bit interesting. http://www.factsonpet.com/facts-on-pet/


The 5 gallon container I found in the garage has a 7 on it also. I think it will be ok, but the opening is a bit big. I guess about a 2 inch diameter. The outside looks nasty, but the inside seems doable. Anyway according to the website a 1,2,or 7 designation would be suitable for fermenting mead. 7 being used for:

Polycarbonate:
Refillable plastic bottles
Baby bottles
Metal food can liners
Consumer electronics

Biodegradable resins
Food and beverage
packaging

The 5 gallon container I found in the garage has a 7 on it also. I think it will be ok, but the opening is a bit big. I guess about inch diameter. The outside looks nasty, but the inside seems doable.

The company that makes this particular bottle is out of Chino Cally. A company called STC Plastics. I am thinking about give them a call tomorrow to see what the best way to clean the inside of one of these things. As mentioned, is has a hollow handle where liquid can easily penetrate.

My concern is, and I wonder if some crazy bacteria or unwanted germs could hangout there and reappear during, or after a nice fermentation. How easy would it be to clean? Is plain sanitizer enough to do the job, since a brush will most likely not fit into the handle of the bottle?

Another question is.... does anyone know if PET is international recognized or is it just an American certification? I believe that its a national organization, but I would like to know for sure. I sometimes go abroad and I have never see a glass carboy (in one particular country). How would I know if I buy a large plastic container for primary fermenting if it is suitable to that particular task of fermenting.

The company that makes this particular bottle is out of Chino Cali. A company called STC Plastics. I am thinking about give them a call tomorrow to see what the best way to clean the inside of one of these things. As mentioned, is has a hollow handle where liquid can easily penetrate.

My concern is, and I wonder if some crazy bacteria or unwanted germs could hangout there and reappear during, or after a nice fermentation. How easy would it be to clean? Is plain sanitizer enough to do the job, since a brush will most likely not fit into the handle of the bottle?

Another question is.... does anyone know if PET is international recognized or is it just an American certification? I believe that its a national organization, but I would like to know for sure. I sometimes go abroad and I have never see a glass carboy (in one particular country). How would I know if I buy a large plastic container for primary fermenting if it is suitable to that particular task of fermenting.

huesmann
01-05-2012, 04:54 PM
You can just soak your bottle in a bleach solution for a few days if you're worried about germs hanging out in a scratch.