Can I Reuse Cat Litter Containers for Food Storage?

When the large hard plastic container of Tidy Cat litter is empty, is it safe to place food or water for humans in it?

By Diane Cruz from Port Huron, MI


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December 26, 20100 found this helpful

Of course! Being a cat owner myself, I have collected many of these containers over the years and have kept every one and use them for storage for everything. Anyway, I run mine through the dishwasher or simply wash it by hand in very hot soapy water and let it dry thoroughly. To store food items though I would definitely run the container and its lid through the dishwasher.
Here is a partial list of things I store in them:
Out of season clothes
Craft supplies such as yarn, material, etc
Out of season linens and curtains
Extra pet toys (my spoiled babies have too many to keep out all at once!)
I also keep one next to the cat box with a plastic bag in it to put the scooped litter into


They make great bathroom trash cans if your pets like to get into the trash.
Literally all kinds of things!

So yes, the containers can be reused. Just be sure and wash them thoroughly first. You can also cover them with Contact paper to match your decor. Something I do when storing clothes or linens is to add one fabric softener sheet before putting on the lid. This keeps the items inside smelling fresh.

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December 27, 20100 found this helpful

Yes, sure! It's just plastic, and the former contents were a sterile industrial product, that has been super-dried at very high temperatures.

Have FUN!

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December 29, 20102 found this helpful

I would not use a cat litter bucket for food storage unless it had the numbers 2,4,5 to indicate it was safe for food. Other wise it may leach toxins and other harm full chemicals into the food.

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January 2, 20110 found this helpful

Food storage, hmmmm, only for extra canned goods I would think. I certainly would not use for bulk loose beans and such. I use mine for storing camping gear, Christmas decorations, fabric and what not. The are great for containing those unruly plastic bags we get at the grocer, too They also can be painted if you are so inclined.


Just use the spray that is suitable for plastic patio furniture. I've often thought that they could be screwed together to make a wall unit. I've not tried that yet though.

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January 3, 20110 found this helpful

I always say don't reuse food containers for future food or beverage use other than if recycle #2, 4 or 5 but you also need to know that original containers for food are different than for other non-food original contained products.

Kitty litter containers are generally #2 but there are two types of processes used to make plastics. The chemical used to release the plastic from the mold determines if the plastic will be food grade or not (food grade is a more expensive process). I personally wouldn't risk putting food into anything that held non-food type contents that could potentially contaminate the food anyway. And not just for humans but also food for pets.

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January 3, 20110 found this helpful

Nothing should be used for food that doesn't say it is intended for food. Toxins from plastic can leitch into the food and poisen you.

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January 4, 20110 found this helpful

No. Food should only be stored in food safe plastics. I am able to bring mine to recycling.

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January 15, 20110 found this helpful

No way would I use it for food. To store non-edible items, yes, but food, no.

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May 6, 20111 found this helpful

Most people are unaware that these bin-type containers are food safe, and have a recycling number of #5, (Polypropylene (PP) ). If you turn it over, and you see a 5 with three arrows around it, you will know.


#5 (pp) is used for Ketchup bottles, yogurt containers, margarine tubs, and medicine bottles. As far as the chemicals used to release them from the molds, only certain kinds can be used on certain numbers so #5s, Cleaned well, and sterilized, should be fine.

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April 28, 20120 found this helpful

I had the same question, and wrote an e-mail to Purina. Their answer to me was: "We appreciate your interest in our products. Please know the fragrance used in litter can be absorbed by plastic, as such; litter containers should not be reused if the lingering odor is a concern (i.e. for food or water storage"

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February 15, 20130 found this helpful

I was always annoyed at having to throw away these sturdy pails, because yuck! they had had cat litter in them! I wised up one day while I was shopping for Rubber Maid storage boxes. Ping! Now I use them for all sorts of storage and I use to if I have to carry things up from the basement. They are great in the garden shed. The one I buy is 35 lbs. Nearly the size of a 5 gallon pail. I was always so careful to keep my little children away from these while empty or full of the original product or reuse because of the danger of falling in drowning.


My Dad was a painter and always had them around and warned me about the serious danger.
I have a new little granddaughter here with me now and I had forgotten how diligent you must be around little children.
(I do wish I could put her in one and take her home with me.) aaarrrgh( you know that I would poke holes in it for air!)

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October 24, 20160 found this helpful

I use these buckets to make kits to keep in my car. The kit has food items that I keep in the original containers. A typical kit will include peanut butter, graham crackers, bottles of water, oatmeal, brown sugar, dried cranberries, asst other snacks in ziplock bags. It doesn't matter if it is food grade or not if it is just a convenient storage bin and not in direct contact with the food. Similar kits are useful as gifts for the homeless and poor.

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