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Are Shipping Containers Environmentally Sustainable?
Aug 2022

Are Shipping Containers Environmentally Sustainable?

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When shipping containers are being constructed, they do not require an abundance of resources. Made from materials that have a small carbon footprint to create and don’t take up a lot of natural resources in doing so, the containers are sustainable to build and are built to last.

This lessens their environmental impact and carbon footprint greatly. By reusing and repurposing them, you can reduce yours, too.

These containers are designed to take a hit from the most brutal of conditions and extreme temperature changes, while still being able to protect their cargo.

They can withstand life on the rough seas for a minimum of 25 years and are designed to stay strong against unrelenting winds, salt from the sea, and the constant momentum all taking their toll on joints and locks.

When first constructed, they start their life full of colour. At the end of their lifespan, they are somewhat less colourful, but with little to no rust or broken walls, roofs, and floors.

Having braved the elements and spent the majority of their time being moved from one ship to another, they then retire in a shipping yard. Their materials, however, are still strong, and they can be of value when repurposed. So, why not enjoy this sturdy container in another form when it retires from the sea?

Sustainable Materials

Shipping containers are made from steel products. The cost of energy used in the steel’s creation is far less than that of concrete or brick, which are used in traditional houses or other buildings such as office spaces and shopping malls.

It takes more than half the energy used in producing steel to make the material required for a typical house. This decreases the carbon footprint of the materials used in the construction of the container.

On the other end of the scale, however, it takes considerably more energy to melt the container down when it is finally moved to the shipping depot where it sits and takes up space prior to deconstruction.

While the materials can be reused for other forms of construction, the energy used in melting the container is immense and very costly. This increases the carbon footprint of the plant dismantling the container, as well as inflates its energy costs.

By repurposing and reusing the container to create office spaces or modular homes, for example, the environmental impact is drastically lessened. They do not use natural resources such as fossil fuels, and the energy taken to customize the container is considerably less than in the development of other forms of buildings.

Requiring less energy to function also helps to reduce the environmental impact. With proper insulation, they are able to retain heat effectively, thus reducing the energy needed for heat sources.

As the space inside the container usually starts at about 3200 square feet, energy-saver bulbs can be used as a light source and are powerful enough to light the entire area. However, if you have windows or a skylight installed, the natural light may be enough in the summer months. This means that your energy costs will be lower in the summer, and only a fraction higher in the winter.

You are also able to customize the containers with solar panels, water filtration systems, and compost systems, which, using renewable energy sources, increases its sustainability and lessens the carbon footprint and environmental impact even further.

If you are using them as a temporary solution, they do not require a foundation to be built. Therefore, this does not disturb the ground and ecosystem in the area too much.

Durable and Weather Resistant

With the original design meant to withstand all that the unforgiving sea can throw at it, rust and damage from other elements such as hail are not a genuine concern.

The best test to ensure the water and wind resistance of the container is to go inside and close the door. Should you see any light entering the container, this is an indication that there has been some damage. This situation is rare, but it needs to be addressed quickly.

Once the container has served its missions on the sea, its life expectancy then increases when placed in rural or urban settings, as the weather and other conditions are not the same. Being also able to withstand drastic changes in temperatures, shipping containers in Toronto are a splendid solution for your needs.

With the proper insulation and ventilation, you can create the perfect environment inside the container without disturbing the balance outside with unnecessary energy being expelled. This also helps to keep your running costs down.

The strong frame allows the containers to be stacked, so you can increase your space without destroying more of the natural environment around it. You can also get double-wide containers for extra space.

Another benefit that helps with sustainability is that the containers are easy to move and change. As your business or life needs to change and grow, you can easily swap out the size of the container for a larger or smaller one.

This eliminates the need for more construction and the use of other materials that are not sustainable to make. This means that the life expectancy of 25 years increases, and may still be in great condition to hand down to your children or future owners of your company.

Let’s Get You Started the Eco Way

Sigma Container Corporation has a wide range of prefabricated or blank containers ready to get you started with your office space, both new and used, and ranging from 20’, 40’, and 40’ High Cube (HC) in size.

To ensure that the location is safe for the container and that the right size is ordered, our dedicated team visits the site to review it and discuss options with you. Safety is our priority, as well as ensuring your needs are met.

If you want more information, or to begin the process of renting a container and lessening your environmental footprint, you can contact us online, or call us at 1-877-225-7762 to get started today.

Tom Bray is a freelance writer with over five years experience writing for online publications and over ten years in business and sales. He studied journalism and media and has written for various online outlets on multiple topics. His specialty subjects are shipping containers and transport logistics.

Tom’s passion for writing and transport logistics motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that can show you how a shipping container can be effectively utilized and modified to each person’s needs.

You can connect with Tom via email at