Off-Grid Recycling Plant Built Out of a Shipping Container

While we have many options for recycling in developed areas of the world, such is not the case in remote, underdeveloped regions. Transporting plastic waste to a recycling plant from such areas is costly, but there is a new solution now. The so-called Trashpresso machine, created by the firm Miniwiz upcycles plastic waste into useful products, such as floor tiles, and it can do so off-the-grid.

The Miniwiz Trashpresso machine was built using a standard 40-foot shipping container, which means it can easily be transported to any area that is accessible by a truck. The structure is self-powered thanks to the solar power array on it’s exterior, so that it does not need to be connected to the grid or a generator in order to perform the upcycling processes it was designed to carry out.

Once the Trashpresso is deployed, the process of upcycling can start. Trash is first collected and then washed, shredded, melted, and finally molded, which all happens via an automated process. The water that is used for cleaning is filtered and reused in the process.

They first introduced the Trashpresso in Shanghai on Earth Day 2017, while it was also the subject on the National Geographic documentary series called “Jackie Chan Green Hero.” They are planning to deploy the first Trashpresso in July of this year, and it will be used to clean up the glacier region of NianBao Yuze on the Tibetan Plateau, which feeds into the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong rivers. An increase of tourism in this area has led to a vast increase in litter, which is a problem the Trashpresso is perhaps most suited to solve. It will also be a great tool to teaching people living in isolated areas about the benefits of recycling, while also giving them a way to do so.

Shipping Container Home That is Easy to Move

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The trend of building shipping container homes seems to be slowing down, but that doesn’t mean it’s going away. There are many benefits of converting containers into homes, one of them being their mobility. And this creation by boat builder Evans really takes advantage of this, since he designed the home so that it is easy to move.

Evans used a 20-foot shipping container to build his home, but it is not one of the standard ones which can be obtained cheaply at most larger ports. This one has a reinforced roof, and doors along the side wall, and costs around $4000 to purchase. Since it already had a large opening on the side, he left it intact for the project and only concentrated on the interior.

His experience in building boats really shows in the clever interior design he employed. There is plenty of storage and plenty of space, and the rich woodwork that everything inside is made of makes it seem more like a luxury yacht than a shipping container house. The home features a lovely kitchen on one end, which has room enough for a standard sized fridge. It also features a high table that can be used as a counter, dining table or work area. The bed is suspended from the ceiling above the sofa, which pulls out to form a double bed. There is also bathroom with an RV style toilet that can either be connected to a sewer or a tank to empty it.

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The home has 12V DC lighting throughout which can run on or even off the grid. The batteries and tanks are cleverly hidden behind the fridge. And since he didn’t alter the shipping container to build this home, it can easily be closed up just as it was when still used for shipping goods, loaded onto a truck or ship, and transported to anywhere in the world.

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Evans, however, is planning to add more containers onto it, sealing them together along the existing openings in order to create a larger home, since he plans to settle down in the near future.

Prefab Container Home Large enough to Fit a Family

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Here is another creation by Custom Container Living, the shipping container architecture firm out of Archie, Missouri. This one has a generous floor plan, and is large enough for a family to live in comfortably.

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The home was built out of a single, standard 40 ft (12 m) shipping container, which they extended in height by 30-in (76.2 cm). This extra height enabled them to build a sleeping loft. The home has 416 sq ft (38 sq m) of floorspace, which still puts it in the realm of tiny homes, but the clever furnishings and the lofts do make it very cozy and comfortable.

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The ground floor is comprised of a living/dining area, a kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom. There is a storage stair that leads up to the loft, which is big enough to fit a king size bed and a closet, though the amount of headroom is not impressive. The kitchen is fully equipped with all the necessary appliances, including a full size fridge, while the bathroom is fitted with a bathtub. Apart from other storage space, the stair also houses a built-in washer/dryer combo. The interior features hardwood flooring throughout.

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The exterior of this shipping container home is clad in lap siding and features cedar and metal detailing. One of the main concerns when it comes to shipping container architecture is proper insulation, and it this case Custom Container Living opted for spray foam insulation in the walls and ceiling. For heating and cooling needs they installed an efficient Mitsubishi mini-split system.

The container home comes pre-wired for electricity and with all the necessary plumbing fixtures in place, so it can easily be hooked up to the grid. The company also offers optional add-on features, which would make this home completely independent of the grid.

The home pictured above is an on-grid home that was used as a show home, so it is available for purchase for only $54,900.

Clever Tiny Shipping Container Home

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It seems like shipping container architecture is getting a revival of sorts, despite all the drawbacks and criticisms of this form of architecture. These include the fact that containers are just too narrow, as well as too toxic to be suitable for people to live in. They also need a lot of reinforcing once you start cutting them up to create windows or join them together to make bigger homes. With the latter there is also the question of whether all the work required doesn’t actually eliminate most of the sustainability of this type of architecture. However, a lot of people still love the simplicity and minimalism of shipping container homes, and one such is certainly Shane Blind of New Zealand. He recently completed his shipping container home which is pictured above and which at first glance does not appear to be made out of a container at all.

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Shane used a single, 20-foot shipping container to create his modern home. he also added two pop-out units along the sides, which solved the problem of the container being too narrow. Shane uses this so-called “Pod-Tainer” as a guesthouse, so it’s not his full time home. But the architectural solutions he employed would make if highly suitable as such.

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He didn’t want to fit the home with foldable or stow-away elements, which led him to create the two pop-out units on the sides. The first 6 by 3 foot (1.8 by 1 m) pop out contains the living area, while the other one, which is right across it contains the bathroom. The latter is quite spacious and features a sink, toilet, and shower, which has enough headroom for a 6 ft man to shower in comfortably. The home also features a kitchenette, which is fitted with a portable stove, refrigerator and a microwave. This area also features a dining table, which could easily be used as a working space. The bedroom is housed in one end of the pod.

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This is certainly a great example of shipping container architecture at it’s finest, especially since it eliminated most of the drawbacks of using cargo containers as building blocks. It also only cost him $20,000 to build, though he did most of the work himself over a period of about two months.

New Shipping Container Hostel Built in Vietnam

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This interesting cargotecture creation was recently completed by the company TAK Architects. It is a hostel located in the Vietnamese ocean resort town of Nha Trang and is comprised of a stack of three recycled shipping containers, which where painted in bright colors and contain family-sized and multi bed dormitory style rooms.

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The so-called Ccasa Hostel is located only a short walk from the beach, and they pride themselves on being a modern and family-friendly facility. The main focus of this new architectural design was the creation of a large communal space formed by the shipping containers, namely the shared kitchen and roof terrace. There are also pergolas and outdoor walkways, which are shaded by living foliage and serve the dual function of providing access to the different areas of the hostel as well as offering natural cooling and ventilation.

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Apart from using recycled shipping containers to build the rooms, they also used recycled encaustic cement tiles, old wood windows, and flat winnowing baskets during the construction process. This is a very sustainable way to build, but also serves to reference traditional Vietnamese architecture and agriculture, effectively blending the old with the new.

From the photos, it doesn’t appear that the rooms have ACs, which given the tropical location of this hostel might make sleeping here quite unpleasant. The only modification done to the shipping containers was the cutting of an opening for a door and a small window on the longer sides. The exterior was left in pretty much the original condition, apart from being painted in vivid colors. The interior appears modern indeed, and looks nothing like the inside of a cargo container.

Provided the architects made sure the containers are well insulated against the heat, and properly cooled, then this is a great example of shipping container architecture.