Four Ideas to Repurpose Old Shipping Containers

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Shipping container solutions are one of the best ways to save money on construction while still obtaining a quality building that will last. From a generator enclosure to modular housing, here are four things you can do with repurposed shipping containers.

  1. Make a generator enclosure. Storage containers make an ideal generator enclosure. They can be specially modified to provide backup power accessories like automatic transfer switches and can hold fuel tanks as well as the generator itself. A generator enclosure made of an industrial shipping container is weatherproof and can be expected to last more than 20 years with regular maintenance. It’s also a much cheaper solution than building a generator enclosure. Some estimates are that, in general, building things with containers can save as much as 40% in costs compared to ordinary construction.
  2. Make modular housing solutions out of shipping containers. Modular housing made from shipping containers is fast and cheap to build, easy to move and modify, and durable. Shipping containers are capable of standing up to 100mph winds when they are rooted to a foundation, and if anchored with pylons they can stand up to 175mph winds. Some modular homes can be built of shipping containers in the factory in just one to two weeks. The same sort of structure made from traditional materials would take two to three weeks to make, or even four to six months if bricks and mortar are used. Even better, shipping containers can be stacked next to or on top of one another, and each one provides about 300 feet of space.
  3. Use shipping containers for job site trailers. Ordinary job site trailers fall apart easily. They’re made of vinyl and very thin wood while regularly fails. Steel containers can last 20 or even 25 years with just the most basic of maintenance and upkeep while providing better comfort and protection than ordinary trailer materials. They can easily be insulated and fitted with windows, doors, electric, and climate control. They can even be divided to make two separated offices out of one container.
  4. Make a restaurant or pop-up cafe out of a repurposed shipping container. It’s fairly simple to remove part of a wall, install some appliance, and make an inexpensive, durable street-side cafe out of used shipping containers. Since estimates are that there are as many as 24 million empty and retired containers drifting around the world, buying one and putting it to good use is also a great way to show your care for the environment. They are true eco-structures since they’re typically made of 85% recycled steel and are themselves fully recyclable. Even more, using them saves the use of a lot of other new building materials.

Imagine what you could do with a used shipping container of your own. Generator enclosures and mobile offices are just the tip of the iceberg. A standard 20-foot container can hold the equivalent of 3,596 shoe boxes, and a 40-foot container can hold 8,443. That’s a lot of room for home, office, storage, or anything else your imagination can suggest.

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