I would not mess with the potassium permanganate. In fact I would stay far away from it. It is a very, very strong oxidizer. Presumably you could clean it out and the container would be ok, but I sure wouldn't want to put stuff you drink in there. The "no recycle" label is on there for a reason.
Fun side note, one of the grad students in my program had a shirt that said "Potassium permanganate is such a strong oxidizer, it will suck the electrons out of your grandmother!" with a funny little science man in a lab coat and a beaker.
Oxidation is not much of a problem while active fermentation is going on. If you're just going to leave the new berries in the mead for a week or so, I would think you'd be ok in the bucket. For longer term, you'd want an impermeable plastic (like a Better Bottle), glass, or steel.