It’s no secret that in the past year, the price of steel in the US has risen by a greater percentage than in all the previous steel making years combined. And in most cases, manufacturers of steel products have passed on the increase to the end user. There is always the belief that when steel prices increase, reconditioned drums are worthy of consideration. However, in this unique steel crisis, the available recycled raw materials that are used to manufacture drums are drying up as used drums are being crushed and sold into the global scrap market. Given the reduction of steel drums available for reconditioning, the reconditioned drum prices are high and reflect the shortage of raw drums. Therefore, the new vs reconditioned prices are not far apart. Some manufacturers are using the price of steel in the US as a means to reduce the necessary wall thickness of steel drums. Shipper’s probably don’t realize that reducing wall thickness increases the risk of drum performance – and a small cost savings on the drum exposes the much more expensive inner contents to greater risk. On the other hand, users contemplating reconditioned versus new drums will find that a reconditioned drum is going to be thicker and heavier than many of the thin-walled new drums that cannot withstand reconditioning and are being scrapped after a single use. When choosing the best drum for your product, we recommend that thicker steel (0.9mm minimum or 20 gauge minimum) is the best choice for risk-reduced transport and storage.
Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues
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As a ship prepares to ferry dozens of containers of hazardous materials and chemicals from Beirut to Germany for disposal, it’s a reminder of the disaster that struck there months ago, and of the fact that every day dangerous goods and chemical shipping containers are being stored and moved all around the globe. It is absolutely essential that materials are held in the proper containers with the proper closures. Steel drums may have been around for a while, but they are as relevant as ever, especially as chemical shipping containers.
Incredibly toxic industrial chemicals such as chlorine, phosgene, and hydrogen cyanide are on our roads and shipping routes every day. While regulations allow for a range of container materials and thicknesses, thicker, heavier steel drums are far from “out of style”.
When containing any material, it is crucial that neither the material nor the container be affected by direct contact with each other. That’s why, due to it’s high corrosion-resistance, stainless steel is a popular material for chemical shipping containers. Like the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And steel drums have been a lasting favorite because they continue to perform reliably.
That’s not to say that we don’t continue to innovate and explore new ways steel containers can support our customers and industry better. We embrace new technologies and keep our ears open to ensure we are always manufacturing the best steel drums for the job and materials. At Skolnik, we offer a range of grades and configurations of stainless and carbon steel drums all manufactured beyond regulation minimums.
As for ensuring your chemical shipping containers are properly closed, Skolnik offers customers a Quick-Lever Closure option that secures a drum in a few seconds, with no tools, no calibrations, and no torque requirements. Our customers swear by them when it comes to ease, efficiency and avoiding fines for violating closure instructions.
As with other potentially hazardous or dangerous materials, there are requirements and secondary containment requirements for chemicals. Secondary containment systems provide an additional and essential line of defense in the event of any failure or damage to the primary containment vessel.
In 1976 The Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) was passed to give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to control the generation, treatment, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous wastes. The EPA enforces requirements for chemicals and toxic wastes that include reviewing records, inspecting facilities and requiring secondary containment.
According to federal codes, for a secondary containment system to be compliant it must have sufficient capacity to contain at least 10% of the volume of the primary containment or containers. Most local jurisdictions follow either the Uniform Fire Code or International Fire Code when corrosive, flammable and combustible materials are being handled or contained in a facility. These regulations typically require secondary containment and a sprinkler and/or other firefighting precaution as well. However, some states have stricter secondary containment requirements for chemicals so you should always contact your authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to ensure you are following the proper procedures in your area. If you are transporting the chemicals, you may be beholden to the requirements of all jurisdictions the materials are being transported through.
At Skolnik, we always recommend secondary containment as a best practice for potentially hazardous materials, whether required by the AHJ or not. Proper precautions and preparation can make the difference between a small inconvenience and a large, dangerous incident. It is crucial to have the plans and materials in place should a spill occur.
The steel drum is often ideal as a hazardous waste storage container, ensuring the safe transport and storage of many dangerous materials. The variance in sizes, configurations and needs make them a particularly versatile tool.
Hazardous waste containers are very specific based on the type of waste that needs to be stored or transported. There are a host of laws and regulations that determine how and when certain materials can be disposed of, and these rules may change per city, state or country. It’s crucial to know what type of drum is legally required for use before containing or disposing of any potentially dangerous materials. Especially in the world of highly hazardous or radioactive wastes, there are very strict UN and 7A requirements in place.
But the requirements for hazardous waste storage containers extend beyond their manufacturing specifications. An incorrectly marked container can lead to fines or, worse yet, accidents. Containers should be labeled as corrosive, explosive, etc, and indicate the contents they are certified to hold. This is to ensure that the drum is being used correctly, but also that those who come in contact with the container during shipping or storage are aware of the contents and safety procedures specific to the drum.
It’s said that the only thing constant is change — that is very much the case when it comes to hazmat regulations. As the industry and regulations keep evolving, we at Skolnik do our due diligence to ensure all of our products meet, if not exceed, them. So you can be confident that your hazardous materials are properly contained and all parties involved in the storage or transportation process safe.
A critical component for drums is proper, secure closure. The security of the closure is an obvious goal, but often overlooked is ensuring you have the correct configuration for your materials. For materials that you need regular access to in the container, a UN rated open head drum with lever lock lid may be the ticket.
Open head drums have a removable cover and a seamed bottom. They are popular choices for solids and viscous liquids such as soil absorbents, syrups, glues, oils, etc. Whereas a tight head drum has a very small opening, with open head drums, you can remove the whole top of the drum, making it perfect for situations where you might need access to the contents, either for frequent addition or extraction.
A leverlock closure is an upgrade from the older bolt style closure. Merely slip it over the cover and snap it shut. No torque, no bolt, no nut and no tools necessary. It’s fast and ergonomic. Don’t take our word for it, see it in action here.
Skolnik offers UN Rated Leverlock open head drums in 5 to 85 US gallon capacities. Leverlock closures are quick to install, easy to open and re-close, and able to be lock-sealed for permanent protection. The locking latch even accepts tamper-resistant seals, so you can be sure your dangerous goods are safely contained.