10 Creative Uses for Retired Shipping Containers Blog

People sitting outside shipping container converted to a food truck

In 1956, the Pan Atlantic Tanker Company revolutionized the intermodal shipping industry by introducing the standardized shipping container. Almost 6 million of these containers are on board a ship, truck, or train somewhere in the world right now. Shipping containers are durable, but they don’t last forever. Fortunately, there are many alternative uses for shipping containers that are no longer fit to carry cargo.

Clever, resourceful people all over the planet have found many ways to repurpose shipping containers. Here are 10 that stand out:

1) Housing

According to the Wall Street Journal, there is currently a worldwide housing shortage. Repurposing a shipping container for housing is a step toward solving this problem. While shipping containers look pretty generic in their native state, architects and designers have found surprising ways to combine them to create luxurious housing at low prices.

2) Mobile Laboratory

Lab tests are essential for everything from medical care to agriculture. Unfortunately, building a fully fledged laboratory requires a significant investment of time and resources. A self-contained laboratory in a shipping container, on the other hand, is easier to set up and can be moved anywhere it’s needed.

3) Wastewater Treatment

All over the world, people are getting sick and dying because they can’t get clean water. Several companies are building miniature wastewater treatment plants into shipping containers for greater accessibility to sanitary water sources.

4) Anywhere Restaurant

Today, food trucks are very popular, proving it’s possible to run a full kitchen in a small space. A restaurant made from a shipping container can go anywhere a food truck can and beyond.

5) Workshop

Shipping containers make fantastic workshops. Just add some power, lighting, and a workbench, and you’re ready to go.

6) Emergency Shelters

Humanitarian crises often go hand in hand with natural disasters. After an earthquake, hurricane, or another weather-related emergency, thousands of people could find themselves with no shelter. Converted shipping containers are easy to transport nearly anywhere in the world, making emergency shelters easily available as needed.

7) Garage

A shipping container can serve as extra garage space for storing yard equipment, old toys, and other items. If you need enough room to hold a car, a few containers put together can make the framework for a larger garage, with a little engineering.

8) Swimming Pool

With some minor modifications, it’s easy to make a shipping container watertight. Once that’s done, simply embed it into the ground and fill it with water.

9) Indoor Garden

Getting enough food to eat is a concern for millions of people across the globe. An indoor hydroponic garden can provide nutritious, fresh vegetables for an entire community.

10) Playground

In a child’s imagination, a cardboard box can become anything from a cave to a spaceship. If a simple cardboard box unlocks this much creativity, imagine how much fun a modified shipping container with a ladder, a slide, and some skylights could be.

Once upon a time, shipping containers revolutionized the freight forwarding industry. As these other uses for shipping containers have shown, there are still new ways for them to make an impact long after their lives on the road are over.

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