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Question from Fran

My husband and I are looking for rainbarrels. We notice that very few of the good-looking ones are “food-grade plastic.” Two sites do (& both seem decently priced): sites for the grey-black “Urban” rain barrel ( about $80 each, $100 counting shipping; and also some sold by “Midwest sales” on a few sites including – a dark green, 60-gallon, on sale for about $100 free shipping.

I am not sure if “teflon tape” is involved for the first one, although “plastic” is mentioned; but “Teflon tape” is definitely installed on the threads of the second (the green) one, much to my disappointment. My husband was sure it was not the same Teflon, but online sources cited that it is PTFE. Is the amount in this case negligable, and also do you know if any alternative exists to ensure a tighter fit on threads at connections? (There is one more choice I liked from the gardening sites you list – a terra cotta that seems very orange-red; but the color is wrong for us.)

By the way, a woman in a city near me is going to try painting her rainbarrels with ivy designs (they are selling for $60 so far unpainted). I emailed her that I worry about the UV paints and hope she uses non-toxic. What are your thought on this, if any opinion? Thanks!

Debra’s Answer

I’m not concerned about Teflon tape used on the connections leaching into the water into the barrel. If you want to, you can check the connections to make sure no tape is entering the barrel, or you could remove it entirely. We have Teflon tape on the fittings in our bathroom. It’s pretty standard now to prevent drips. Does anyone know of an alternative?

Regarding the painted rain barrels…I don’t think the paint would permeate the rain barrel and infiltrate the water. It would be best to use a nontoxic paint, but I don’t know if any are available that will adhere to plastic and stand up to weather. Cute idea though.

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