In recent years, there’s been a push to see how we can better upcycle and recycle items that have already been created. Perhaps one of the most innovative ways of upcycling has been with the use of shipping containers. There are a ton of unique uses for storage containers — from creating temporary offices on a construction site to temporary classrooms or even homes! There will always be a steady supply of shipping containers being retired from their primary function — moving cargo — given that 95% of the world’s cargo is transported via ships. And though around 675 containers are lost at sea every year, there are almost 20 million shipping containers around the world and just six million are currently being used. The remainder could be used for a host of other tasks.
What Can Shipping Containers Be Used For?
One great use for shipping containers is storage. They’re initially built to store items in transport, so they’re durable and weatherproof. The only difference, of course, is that the items aren’t being moved in the containers from Point A to Point B.
Instead of renting out warehouse space, a company could simply rent a number of shipping containers, find land or a space they already own, and fill it with the shipping containers. They then own that storage space and don’t have to worry about rent or leases.
Shipping containers can also be used as temporary homes for disaster relief purposes or office spaces as well. There are plenty of companies that can modify them to add windows, skylights, shelving, locks, climate control, and other necessities that make a shipping container livable or workable.
Why Are Shipping Containers So Useful?
As mentioned above, there are so many shipping containers available, but not in use, so seeing them repurposed is wonderful. Plus, for every recycled shipping container, around 3,500 kilograms of steel gets reused. Whether they’re used for storage, homes, or offices, using a shipping container also means that traditional building materials can be saved, since we’re using what’s already created and available to us. This makes them an extremely eco-friendly choice for businesses or individuals looking to have more of a positive environmental impact.
Furthermore, one will also save a good amount of money by purchasing shipping containers outright, instead of leasing or renting storage or office space or building a new home. For under $2,000, you could have 320 square feet of space, for example, and many homes can be built for under $50,000 — something unheard of with most homes built of traditional building material.
Shipping containers can move from worksite to worksite and are extremely flexible in terms of being remodeled into different kinds of spaces. They are also extremely durable, built to withstand 100 mph winds and turbulent seas, and protect the cargo inside. This makes them both incredibly safe and also gives the assurance that anything stored inside will be kept intact and dry.
How Can One Obtain Shipping Containers for Alternative Uses?
Some cargo companies may offer these storage containers for sale once their useful lifespan is over. However, there are other companies who specialize in used shipping containers that you can find online. And if you live near a big shipping hub, it may be even easier than going online — you might just try asking around locally.
Once you have the container, if you’re looking to repurpose it into an office or home, there are companies that specialize in remodeling for that purpose. They can add doors and windows, install climate control, add locks, paint the interior and add shelving, and much more. Whether you’re using it as a pop up store or basic office at a worksite to temporary housing, these companies can meet your needs.
There are tons of advantages to repurposing a storage container — it’s eco-friendly, affordable, flexible, and there are increasingly creative ways to totally transform the space into a workable, livable space.