Have you ever found yourself lost in thought as you wait for a train to pass by?
Ever wonder what do they do with those hundreds of shipping containers that you’ve just watched speed past your car?
The truly innovative amongst us have found incredible ways to recycle steel shipping containers, turning them into useful objects.
Here are just a few ways that steel shipping containers can be “upcycled” and repurposed:
Children’s Centers from Shipping Containers
In a small area of Melbourne, Australia, sit four shipping containers. Listen closely and you’ll hear the sound of children laughing and playing. These four containers have been repurposed into a children’s activity center. Made with recycled and eco-friendly materials, the center gives children a safe place to play and learn.
Builders in London, England had much the same idea when creating an incredible nursery.
The Fawood Children’s Center is made up of a mesh exterior, housing three stories of shipping containers. The three groups of containers are connected with walkways and contain staircases and balconies, letting everyone wander through the nature experience with ease.
Shipping Containers as Art
If you take a good look at public parks around the world, you just may find steel shipping containers precariously stacked. These amazing pieces of artwork feature both renovated shipping containers and some have painted murals. Two innovative sculptures can be found in parks in Rotterdam and Yokohoma.
Shipping Containers as Traveling Museums
Shipping containers make fabulous venues for museums as they can be deconstructed, transported around the world and put back together again, allowing the masses to enjoy exhibits and displays. If you’re on a budget or only need a short term display, you can opt for a storage container rental instead of purchasing.
The Container Art Project is one such museum that houses not only traditional forms of art, but also serves as a stage for interactive cultural performances as well. Another example is the Nomadic Museum. Covering 45,000 square feet when assembled, the museum travels around the world, showing off its fine art collection to millions of people every year.
Shopping Centers Built from Shipping Containers
The Seventh Kilometer Market, located in Ukraine, is 2 stories high and covers almost two times more square footage than the Mall of America. You won’t find escalators or elevators in this mall; shoppers climb ladders to get from one level to the next!
Famous shoemaker PUMA has taken the lead for manufacturers to produce green shops. PUMA has taken old cargo containers to create three-story retail shops next to the water. Their functional space is both useful and environmentally friendly.
Business Thinking Green Use Shipping Containers Creatively
Businesses around the globe are taking a cue from the green movement and using shipping containers in innovative ways. Made of hearty steel, they are being used for extra storage, modular office space and even tradeshow exhibitors will utilize a portable storage container as a showcase and sales booth. Rather than expanding buildings, which can be both costly and environmentally detrimental, business owners are also using shipping containers to create the space that they need.
If you’ve found that your business is expanding but your space is not, consider purchasing a recycled shipping container or two.
These containers can be outfitted with plumbing and electricity, if need be, making them just as comfortable and every bit as functional as a traditional office space.
In a world of immediate gratification and disposable everything, it’s great to know that something used every day in global shipping can be upcycled for so many useful purposes. The next time you’re sitting at a railroad crossing, just let your imagine roam as you watch those shipping containers roll by.