The best thing about recycling is that it just requires a little bit of creativity to be successful. From small items used daily around the home to larger scale objects such as shipping containers, upcycling has officially gone mainstream.
You may be questioning exactly what shipping containers have to do with recycling. It turns out quite a lot: these huge containers are made from steel, one of the most commonly recycled materials on the planet. They are also quite durable and last for at least 25-years if properly maintained. And thanks to some forward-thinking people, these large boxes are given new life as affordable housing, schools, and even micro-farms.
Here are some interesting ways people have chosen to recycle steel shipping containers.
A shipping container village
In Wilmington, North Carolina, developers are almost done creating a shipping container village that will make modern apartments out of these large steel boxes. Known as the Cargo District, the real estate developers are planning not only to create homes, but live-work units, co-working offices, a few retail store pop-ups, and a food truck park from the containers. The district will have 50 apartments and nine offices, and they are set to be completed, fully furnished, and ready to sell by the start of fall.
The Leafy Green Machine
Freight Farms, a startup based in Boston, Massachusetts, has achieved a lot of success by turning steel shipping containers into portable greenhouses and mini farms. The organization has created an interesting hydroponic farming system known as The Leafy Green Machine that is able to develop as much food in its 320 square meters of space as a two-acre plot of land. Inside these micro farms, seeds are planted in trays and put under LED lights until they start to sprout. Nutrient-rich water trickles in from multiple ceiling spigots, and full root systems are created just like in a normal farm. But the best part of these mini farms is that the outdoor climate has no impact on what is grown and when.
Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Pacioma, California is getting treated to a host of different classrooms, all made from shipping containers found in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. All in all, 75 shipping containers were turned into 14 different classrooms composed of five containers each. These rooms were constructed in just four months, in comparison to one year for normal classrooms, and they will be used by students in fourth grade up to twelfth grade.
These projects show just how much we can all benefit from upcycling with just a little bit of creativity!