I’ve used the orange Home Depot buckets for years to store bulk grains (2-row, Marris Otter, etc), but I’ve always wondered if I should be doing that. Any strong opinions one way or another on this? I thought about replacing them with “food grade” but wasn’t sure if it was worth it.
I think for dried goods your risk is a lot lower than say if you used it as a fermenting bucket containing liquids, but it is still non-zero. Non-food grade HDPE can either contain a non-food grade dye, or a non-food grade release agent to help free it from the mold. HDPE is slightly porous and can leach these out over time. In addition, if the HDPE is recycled it can contain traces of whatever was stored in it previously (paint, pesticides, who-knows-what-else). That being said, the dose makes the poison. For short-term storage of dried goods, I personally don't think it's a huge risk. For liquids, or for long-term storage of dry foods, I personally wouldn't risk it. YMMV based on how risk-averse you may be.
That being said, I'm currently in the reverse situation as others here. Since I've moved to fermenting in kegs, my old bucket fermenters are getting repurposed for use around the garage, yard, as chicken waterers, etc.