Rubber trash cans have a number of emergency uses. Today I picked up this 32 gallon one for $12. I can usually find them on sale for under $10 but I needed one quickly today. I make sure to buy the ones that are the thicker rubber, not the cheaper flimsy plastic ones. This one is made by Rubbermaid. I want to stress they are not food grade and not meant to store open bags of food and are not recommended for long term food storage. I know this, yet I do keep large unopened packages in them until I can get things properly stored. To me that is better protection than just having them lying about.
So, what can you do with them?
Have two near your water heater with a garden hose, flat-head screwdriver and the printed instructions for how to drain your water heater in case you are in a situation where your potable water supplies are running low. If a situation arises where you have exhausted your water supplies and drained your water heater, you can then turn the trash cans into rain barrels. Remember that this new rain water will not be potable water. You cannot drink it without first chemically treating it or filtering it. You can use bleach in an emergency to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners. A medicine dropper comes in handy for this. However, using calcium hypochlorite (pool shock) is the best prepper plan for chemically treating drinking water.
It’s important to have the additional supplies needed to build your rain barrels on hand and to realize if you are at this point, you probably won’t have electricity for that fancy drill. My plan is to use a compass saw if no power was available. You can find the pvc parts in the plumbing section of any store like Home Depot. Watch the video below and as always, write down the instructions and store them in a safe place. I suggest storing the instructions in a ziploc bag with the needed supplies and taping it inside one of the barrels.