Making New Handles for 20L Buckets

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When we have our Sustainable Living Weekends, everybody uses the bucket composting toilets. So we can never have too many 20L buckets. The buckets generally come from food processing businesses who are very pleased to find a second home for the buckets rather than sending them straight to landfill.

However, many of the buckets have plastic handles, and these are the first part of the bucket to break. Not a pleasant thought when the bucket is full of fresh humanure! So before each Sustainable Living Weekend, I check each bucket and put those aside whose handle is dodgy. And that was my job a couple of weeks ago. The result was quite disheartening – 29 of our 50 odd bucket supply had handles that were either broken or on their way out. I told Dan I’d have to throw all of these buckets out because we couldn’t expect anyone to change the toilet buckets over if the handles were broken. “Why not just repair the handles?” he asked. Well … just too obvious! Why didn’t I think of that?

I don’t try any new job without consulting the Internet first. And sure enough. Lots of other people have come up with solutions for replacing bucket handles. As with anything we do, we take a little bit from one person, another bit from another, and add our Hazelcombe Farm take to the mix. And here’s what we came up with …

Materials

  • 20L bucket with broken handle
  • 2 x 12mm washers
  • 19mm polypipe about 140mm long (from scraps we have lying around).
  • Heavy duty baling twine (used to tie up the big bales of hay) 1580mm long (also recycled). If you want your bucket to look much fancier, you can also buy new 12mm rope. I like buying my rope from Ropes Galore. Both quality and prices are very good.

Tools

  • Small hammer
  • Flat head screw driver
  • Sharp knife
  • Drill with 12mm bit
  • Tape measure

Steps

  1. Remove the old handle using the hammer and screw driver

    Removing the old bucket handle
    Removing the old bucket handle
  2. Drill 12mm hole through the bucket on either side where the old handle was attached.

    Drilling 12mm hole for new bucket handle
    Drilling 12mm hole for new bucket handle
  3. Join the 2 ends of the baling twine with a knot, thread the unknotted end of the baling twine through one of the 12mm washers then through one of the holes in the bucket from inside out, and pull tight.

    First hole with knotted rope ends and washer
    First hole with knotted rope ends and washer
  4. Thread the baling twine through the polypipe, and then through the second hole in the bucket, from outside in.

    Threading the baling twine through the second hole
    Threading the baling twine through the second hole
  5. Thread the baling twine through the other 12 mm washer and tie a knot right at the end of the baling twine.

    Bucket complete with new bucket handle
    Bucket complete with new bucket handle

 

All done. Simple, wasn’t it! And here are all the completed humanure buckets.

20L humanure buckets with new bucket handles
20L humanure buckets with new bucket handles

We use 20L buckets for so many things around the farm. The photos of making the new handle are actually taken of a small wicking bed we made which is home to our French tarragon – just coming up as Spring approaches.

Bulk food storage buckets
Bulk food storage buckets

We buy a lot of food in bulk and store it in a combination of 5L, 10L, 15L and 20L buckets. When a food bucket gets a bit old then it becomes a wicking bed bucket or a humanure bucket.

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