5 Cool Uses for Gently Used Containers

From homes to farms and everything in between.

Shipping containers are being used as stores.

(hans engbers / Shutterstock.xom)

Shipping containers are the workhorses of the freight industry and can carry computers, clothing, food and just about anything across the sea. Hopefully the containers make a return trip but if there isn’t anything to transport, they are just left at the port.

Now, there are alternative uses to upcycle these gently used shippers. Check out some of the cool ways that shipping containers are getting a new lease on life.

Unique Housing

Transforming shipping containers into living quarters is not that new and architects have been coming up with some creative housing solutions for years according to the Good Logistics Group; an international shipping and logistics company.

Some of these refurbished containers are being used to house homeless families in Los Angeles, California. Others are being used for student housing in the Netherlands.

One company, Urban Riggers in Copenhagen, Denmark built a floating community that was built out of shipping containers. The company is committed to building sustainable housing on the waterways of cities.

Pop-Up Shops and Cafes

The size of shipping containers makes them a natural fit for unusual pop-up shops according to Good Logistics. A company called Mr Box in the UK built a container café for Beany in London. It only took four weeks from the time it was ordered until delivery. These containers can be used as small medical clinics too and refurbished containers popped up all over during the pandemic as testing sites.

Indoor Farms

One of the most prolific uses for upcycled shipping containers is indoor farming. That’s because a container can be placed just about anywhere, according to GP Solutions. The company stressed that growing food locally provides fresher food, reduced cost, and fewer carbon emissions.

The hydroponic container farms protect crops from weather and pests. The farms range from a farm in a box (one 40-foot container) to a system of several shipping containers. This is an easy way to farm.

Swimming Pools

Want a home pool but don’t want to deal with the expense and mess of an inground pool? Or is your backyard too small for a large swimming pool? Then a shipping container pool may be the right solution for your family.

Modpools from Vancouver, Canada has been transforming gently used shippers into home pools since 2017. The pools – in ground or above ground –  can be installed in a day. Some even have windows on the side so parents can key an eye on young swimmers.

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Serious learning can take place in classroom additions made from shipping containers. An innovative company in the UK, Urban Space Management, has added classrooms to two schools. The work can be done so quickly that it can be completed over school vacations, according to Good Logistics.

To take it one step further, design students at the London High School actually refurbish shipping containers intoclassrooms that will be used by schools in Africa. This hands-on project, teacher Matt Rock said in the London Free Press video below, allows kids to make a difference across the world.