Top 7 Innovative Uses for Shipping Containers

Innumerable shipping containers get transported around the globe every year.
Indeed, a single Triple E container ship can hold 18,000 20-foot containers.
According to the same source, that’s enough containers to carry 36,000 cars in one go!

Clearly, there’s a fair amount of cargo making its way around the world, and we’ve got shipping containers to thank for it.


Top 7 Innovative Uses for Shipping Containers

But what happens when these giant metal boxes get decommissioned?
Once upon a time, they might have found themselves on the scrap heap. 

Indeed, many still do. Others, though, get recycled in a host of innovative ways. Indeed, walk around any major city and you’ll come across shipping containers being put to good use!

Are you planning your own project for one of these seafaring containers? Look no further. We’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to discover 7 top shipping container recycling ideas.  

1. Garden Sheds/Workshops

Let’s face it, who has time to build themselves a shed these days?
Even if you do, the standard wooden approach can have a host of flaws. They can rot, fall down, and generally offer very little security to the valuable goods inside.

Shipping containers can provide a solid solution to the problem. By their nature, these containers are strong, waterproof structures.
All you’d need to do is cut out some windows, fix some doors, and voila- a novel garden shed to store your stuff.

2. New Schools

Who’d have thought it?
Going to school in a shipping container. It sounds like something straight from a film set.

However, it’s very real! Schools designed and made from these metal boxes are becoming increasingly common. Again, the ready-made structure means much of the hard work is already done in construction.

Like lego pieces, you can stack, arrange and organize containers in novel ways. Strangely enough, the architectural style tends to be somewhat box-like…
However, there’s no real limit to what you can achieve. Some of the trendiest schools out there are now built from these old seafaring containers!

3. Swimming Pools

Everyone wants a swimming pool in their back garden!
Alas, getting them designed and fitted is a time consuming and costly affair. It’s often necessary to get planning permission beforehand as well.

If you’re determined to persevere, then consider kitting out a shipping container instead. This is most certainly a novel approach, and it won’t be for everyone. However, the dimensions are ideal, and it’s far quicker and easier (and cheaper) to arrange.

That said, you’ll want enough space! Otherwise, there’s a chance that your entire garden view will be obscured!



4. Hipster Café or Restaurant

Opening cafes and restaurants is never cheap.
You have to find the land and property, and then convert the building to your needs. It all takes time and energy, and a considerable amount of money.
Again, shipping containers can offer a handy solution.

You find them everywhere these days: renovated containers being used for food and drink-related purposes. It makes sense, too. You don’t need anything particularly fancy to run a café or restaurant.

In fact, the basic décor and simplicity of the structure appeals to a certain crowd anyway (especially thrift-shop wearing, mustache-sporting individuals).
These pop-up style shops are all the rage now.

They can be designed and kitted out exactly as you want, stamping your style and personality on the space.

5. Your Home!

Shipping containers typically don’t come ‘living-space ready’.
Straight off the boat, you’re unlikely to want to spend time inside one! It’s something about their rusty, dank, salt-encrusted metallic nature …

They don’t stay like that though. In fact, shipping container homes are becoming increasingly popular too.



Indeed, tiny houses overall have taken off in popularity. In a bid for a cheaper, minimal life, people are opting for the smallest living spaces imaginable. These containers offer exactly that. And, as we’ve already noted, they can be converted into super stylish, modern spaces.

Want to learn more? Here’s a how to guide for inspecting and restoring these containers.

6. Offices

Similarly, company headquarters don’t need to be swanky, sky-scraper tall, glass-covered affairs

Shipping containers can serve the same purpose, just as well.
It comes down to branding. There’s a definite statement that goes with holding your offices in a shipping container. After all, it hardly shouts ‘look at how much money I’m earning’, like the major corporate strongholds of cities do.

Again, certain people and brands will be more drawn to this idea than others. It may be the perfect match for the brand identity you’re cultivating and the target customer to whom you’re trying to appeal.

7. Household Furnishings









Why stop at structures?

Shipping containers are made of certain raw materials, just like anything else. At the end of it’s working life, why not dismantle and upcycle it into something totally new?

Furniture is one potential idea. Sure, it’ll take certain skills, tools, and a can-do attitude. But there’s no real limit to what you could make. Chairs, tables, bed-frames, benches…It’s all possible.

As it happens, the demand for upcycled furniture is on the rise as well. In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, anything recycled carries brownie points for consumers.

You might be able to make a name for yourself! Take something old and weather-battered and turn it into something new. You’ll be the official shipping-container-furniture-maker in your area.

Time to Buy a Shipping Container

There you have it: a selection of top innovative uses for old shipping containers.
Container ships are good at their job.

They successfully transport countless thousands of containers around the world. Every item under the sun can be packed and carried to the furthest corners of the globe. However, the prevalence of the containers causes a slight issue when they’ve passed their shelf life.

What do you do with them all?

Thankfully, creative people have started doing all sorts of fun and functional things with them. As we’ve seen, there’s no real limit to how you can use them.
Hopefully, this post has provided some top ideas for how to get started.

Want more conversion-related articles like this? Search ‘convert’ on the blog now!

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