July 5, 2022
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5 Innovative Ways to Repurpose Old Shipping Containers

3 min read

Nearly 12 million trucks, rail cars, locomotives, and vessels move goods over the transportation network. Most of these goods are transported in durable and long-lasting shipping containers. Of course, many innovative construction companies are redeveloping and repurposing old shipping containers to serve many different functions; from homes, to retail buildings, and much more, it seems as though there are unlimited possibilities when it comes to these universal and high-quality crates. Here are just a few innovative ideas for repurposing old shipping containers.

Swimming Pools

It may sound surprising, but it’s true: durable, steel shipping containers average a 25-year lifespan and require minimal maintenance, and more and more innovative businesses are offering container-based pools. This international trend still requires the main components of traditional pool construction, like plumbing and draining, but the versatility of the shipping containers allows for a number of shapes, sizes, and depths.

“Completely self contained with pumps and filters built into the design, shipping container pools even have windows on the side for increased viewing…These pools even have spa jets, plumes of water that arc over the surface and lights for nighttime use. You can actually order one, have it delivered, filled and be able to use it within the span of a weekend,” writes Carson Arthur on The Chronicle Herald.

Affordable Housing

In the residential sector, green building currently accounts for between 26% and 33% of the total residential market and has helped contribute to the industry’s recovery after the recession, according to Dodge Data and Analytics. Shipping containers are unique in the sense that they’re not only a green and sustainable solution, but they’re affordable as well. Though they may require a higher up front investment, shipping container homes continue to be readily available, highly customizable, and of course, transportable.

Retail Buildings

In urban areas where commercial rent costs are exorbitantly high, shipping containers are making an increasingly popular and financially reasonable solution. Though they’ll have to be insulated properly to withstand colder climates, these eco-friendly spaces are often rented out to smaller merchants in clusters to attract eager shoppers to a common retail space, boosting profits and minimizing traditional utility costs.

“Retail spaces in refurbished shipping containers are becoming increasingly popular as designers find ways to reuse the vacant large containers that carried imports to the U.S. on cargo ships. This brick-and-mortar alternative appeals to small businesses that aren’t yet able to afford a more expensive, traditional retail space,” writes Jane Porter on Entrepreneur.

Temporary Spaces

While shipping containers are certainly durable enough for long-term use with proper maintenance, many underestimate the convenience and versatility these structures have when it comes to serving as temporary work spaces for one-time events. Whether you need a small retail or restaurant space for a weekend festival, a restroom space for a one-night concert, or a group of offices for a short-term project, there’s definitely a shipping container solution that meets your needs.

Storage Sheds

Finally, old shipping containers are always ideal for storing a number of tools for gardening, construction, landscaping, and more. While permanent structures do offer the same level of protection from the elements, they’re usually a more expensive investment, so consider looking into shipping container storage facilities as a protective and more affordable alternative.

A 2017 Unilever study found that 33% of consumers, or one in three, prefer to choose brands that support social or environmental causes, and while repurposing a shipping container is inherently eco-friendly, knowing how to make the most of your options can help you cut back on financial and environmental costs.

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