A neighbour told me not to use empty plastic buckets that earlier contained paint (for painting the house) for gardening because the chemicals still stuck to the sides would leach into the soil and be absorbed by the plants. While it seemed plausible, I just did a bunch of internet searches and didnt find anything that specifically mentioned it.

If it isn't safe to use the buckets for growing veggies, would it help to wash it with kerosine or a paint thinner? What about placing it under the hot Indian sun and scraping off the dry paint? Has there been any credible research that shows that the chemicals from a paint bucket converted to a gardening pot can leach into the soil and be absorbed by the plant, thereby being harmful to us?

The main question is the one in the title. The other questions could either be ignored or answered while building up a case to answer the main question.

  • If you would be happy to eat your dinner out of the paint bucket after cleaning it with kerosene or paint thinner, then go ahead and grow vegetables in it. If not, buy some plant pots instead! – alephzero Oct 22 '18 at 14:32
  • Its not just the paint that might be a problem for plants, its the plastic the pots are made out of in the first place. Those pots are intended to contain paint - whether the form of plastic they're made of is safe to use with edible plants is at question. If you were just growing ornamental plants, fine, but if its something you want to eat eventually, buy some proper pots or growbags or whatever is available specifically for plants. – Bamboo Oct 22 '18 at 16:25
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    So should I throw away the plastic buckets I have been using for aquariums and gardening the last 20 years ? – blacksmith37 Oct 23 '18 at 19:28

I reuse those plastic buckets, large and small, with no problems in the garden. I do usually let them dry well and then peel off whatever will peel so I don't have unsightly paint chips throughout. Unscientific but factual.


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