We’ve written extensively on metal recycling here in Los Angeles and our small part in the worldwide scrap metal recycling industry. We’ve also mentioned the problems many of us in the secondary metals market are experiencing due to supply chain interruptions. If you live near of visit our Southern California coastline the problem is very clear: dozens of ships remain anchored offshore awaiting a space in one of our SoCal ports. But one aspect of the recycling industry that’s tangential to the backup of shipping is the very containers that most of these ships are waiting to unload. You’ve seen them on ships, on big-rig trucks or trains hauling them to their final destinations. These metal containers themselves can be and often are recycled into something else.

Custom-made containers used in transoceanic shipping consist of not only containers of non-standard dimensions but also containers reconstructed into houses, stores, trash bins, and so on. By containers, we suggest those large 20’x8’x8′ and bigger boxes utilized to transfer everything from heavy equipment to thousands containers of ornaments (in each box).

This is metal recycling on a grand scale!

These containers are utilized thoroughly in international trade as they can be loaded and customized sealed at the factory and then carried by ship, railcar and truck (or aircraft) to remote locations without being opened till they reach their locations. The standardized height, width and length dimensions and handling equipment made especially for these containers make it simple to transfer tem from trucks to railcars to ships and back again when empty (or refilled with something new). With containers, the performance of transportation logistics improves significantly.

recycled metal shipping containers at port of Los Angeles
recycled metal shipping containers at port of Los Angeles

While transferring containers filled with merchandise is a financial proposal, transferring empty containers is not. Containers that come in are re-used to ship merchandise out of their initial destinations. Where this is not possible because of out of balance trade, empty containers tend to build up at high import destinations.

These empty containers cause problems, and thus the seriousness to convert them into other usages. Let us take a look at some of these rebuilt custom-made containers.

Container Houses

A standard container which is 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high can accommodate a 9’x6′ living space, a sufficient bed that folds into the wall when not needed, several chairs that also can be folded into the wall, a counter, small cooking area unit and toilet. It would be cramped of course, however can supply living quarters at worksites. Another standard container size is 45’x8’x9.5′. Containers of this size can be used to create more spacious facilities and large rooms.

Theses metal containers can be insulated inside to keep the outside heat from permeating them and to create a pleasant interior temperature, and doors and windows can be cut to suit the total style. With solar energy, it can even move with continuous power supply.

Rather of living quarters, the design can be adapted for developing mobile shops, eating-places, or other sort of lodging. More than one level can be constructed by stacking containers over one another, or by opting for smaller sized levels.

Flat Racks

The container walls and roofing can be removed out (and recycled) leaving the 4 corner supports intact on the floor plate. With a little modification, these can then be transformed into flat racks suitable for different usages. For instance, fit them with wheels and they can be moved along tracks. Cargo can be fitted inside quickly, and lifting and loading are likewise made easier.

A number of varieties of these racks can be stacked while transferring empty, conserving area and expense.

Garbage Containers

Another custom container is the garbage container. The empty containers lying around squandering space can be transformed into outstanding garbage containers that can be transferred in container trucks, and handled with basic container managing devices. Trash bin be packed securely within, and gotten rid of by opening one end that constitutes the door.

Open Top Containers

Packing particular kinds of freight, such as heavy machinery, is simpler into open leading containers. With the top open, such items can be lifted by crane and positioned into the container.

The above examples will give an idea of the versatile applications possible with basic containers. There are tank containers for liquid freight, cooled containers, ventilated containers for organic fruit and vegetables, smaller containers for air cargo and so on to fit many customized container requirements.

These containers are used extensively in international trade as they can be packed and custom-made sealed at the factory and then transported by railcar, truck and ship (or aircraft) to remote areas without being opened till they reach their locations. With containers, the performance of transport logistics enhances considerably.

While transferring containers filled with merchandise is an economic proposal, carrying empty containers is not. Another custom-made container is the trash container. The empty containers lying around losing area can be converted into outstanding trash containers that can be transferred in container trucks, and handled with basic container managing devices.

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