Shipping containers are an ubiquitous part of modern life, as global trade means sending large quantities of products all over in a secure, protected, convenient manner. But they are not only useful for shipping; there are many ways that creative people have repurposed them.
Whether it’s for a business or a home owner who needs supplemental storage or an outdoor shed, a shipping container makes a great storage unit. It’s easy to convert, adding shelving, doors, or bins as needed.
Using modern hydroponic farming and full-spectrum lighting, quite a few innovators are refurbishing shipping containers into farms. They are contained, movable, and are not as vulnerable to the vagaries of weather conditions.
The tiny house movement is an increasingly active and vocal part of modern living. There are an amazing variety of tiny houses being made and sold, and repurposed shipping containers are a major part of this movement. They have advantages due to being built for durability and already being the right shape for a room. There are entire houses made from just one, but if someone wants a not-so-tiny house, they can connect several containers together. For instance, if the family grows, it’s easy to get another container and make an addition.
This ability to stack and connect containers makes them incredibly useful for community building as well. Planners can stack several converted homes together to make apartments, or lay out a field with container-homes into a village. Containers have an advantage of being portable as well; it’s not difficult to arrange for the container-house to be moved to where it is needed.
Containers make good, inexpensive facilities for businesses as well. This can take many forms. A business can make a mobile office – the containers are designed for transport, after all – and can be moved to and dropped off at construction sites, areas of scientific interest, or areas that need emergency services. A small business owner can make an office, workshop, production area, storage unit, or small store readily and comparatively inexpensively. Community planners can repurpose containers into shops, town halls, restaurants, and other needed conveniences for the community.
Live or Work off The Grid
People and organizations that are trying to reduce their environmental impact, or live and work off the grid, are also finding that repurposed shipping containers are a way of meeting their goals. The main structure is already there, so they don’t need to add to environmental strains by building from scratch. The portability and adaptability of shipping containers makes it a simple matter to plan in the needed waste disposal, power, and water-purification appliances. And the home or business owner won’t have to dig up or disturb the natural environment; a properly-planned repurposed container is a self-contained unit.
Creative thinking can help make a shipping container into almost any needed structure for living and doing business.
Davenport Laroche is a shipping container investment agency based in Hong Kong.