Shipping Container Innovation: 10 Creative Uses of Shipping Containers
A shipping container is primarily built to be used as containers of freight goods bound for long distance destinations. They offer space efficiency, ease of handling and can handle various types of content from electronic components to fruits. But a shipping container serves more than just a part of a logistics system.
As many of them also end up discarded due to costs of sending them back to port of origin, creativity and innovation has enabled these boxes to fulfill duties not thought of them.
1. Permanent Homes
Built with sturdy surface and interiors big enough to cover an area of a decently-sized home, it’s no surprise that many shipping containers have been converted into residential units, with innovative designs to boot. And if you’re planning to join the bandwagon, better read what owners wished they’ve known before building their shipping container homes.
2. Temporary Offices
Instead of commuting from home to office to construction site everyday, engineers save time by directly going to the project site with office spaces temporarily built for them. Not only it reduced commuting time crossing between three points, having these offices reduces footprint and, in a little way, reduce traffic congestion and increase efficiency and productivity. Not only offices are built out of shipping containers; canteens, washrooms, accommodations, storage and first aid stations can also be built.
Renewable shipping containers have also found their way in the food and beverage sector, having transformed to the boring rectangular box into attractive dining areas or take out counters. From Beitang Container Restaurant in Tianjin, China to Subway in Freedom Tower, New York, shipping containers have become space-efficient, straightforward architecture that fit local people’s taste, pun intended.
4. Office Spaces
One of the more extensive reincarnations of shipping containers are office spaces. Offices often require large interior volume, and shipping containers address these requirements as its natural height is at par with ceiling heights, and its structure can easily be stacked on on top of or beside each other. It thereby
Close the Gap, an international charity, came up with recycled, insulated and solar powered 40-foot shipping containers to serve as IT classroom in Tuleemi, Tanzania. It partnered with electronics recycling company Arrow to build computer systems inside the classroom, as well as DigiTruck, which enabled these IT classrooms to be mobilized across various rural areas, helping children get abreast with computer education despite lack of infrastructure such as internet connection.
6. Hotel Accommodations
If recycled shipping containers can become homes or offices, it’s not a far-fetched idea that hotels can also make use of these materials. And if you think shipping containers are only built for low-star hotel accommodations, you’d be wrong. Opulent accommodations such as Quadrum Ski and Yoga Resort in Georgia’s Caucasus mountains are built from re-purposed containers. Yet, skiers and other guests are thrilled to discover no trace of rust or residual matter from its past job function.
7. Medical Facilities
Clinic in a Can is a Kansas-based manufacturer of self-container medical units built out of shipping containers. It has built a solar-powered 40-foot shipping container that accommodates three-room medical facility that can sustain ambient indoor temperature and facility for water purification. In 2002, it has deployed four units at parts of Sierra Leone devastated by Ebola virus. It has been deployed on areas where power grid can be difficult to obtain, such as places in conflict zones.
Some of the converted containers have been deployed in Haiti, the Philippines and Bolivia.
8. Portable Toilets
Shipping containers have also been used extensively as portable toilets, from single unit cubicle to a fully-equipped 20-ft toilet and shower block. Technological innovations have also been incorporated into these facilities. For example, Containers Direct builds toilets that do not use water supply, with waste dealt with using re-circulating chemicals delivered through foot or hand pump or eco-friendly, dry composting toilet that requires no chemicals or water, but uses dry composting and aerobic techniques for waste breakdown.