By Richard Romano on December 13th, 2011
I recall, when I was a kid—like many of my generation, perhaps—I often had more fun playing with old refrigerator or other appliance boxes than actual toys. Today, it could be argued (though not by very many), I’m all grown up, but a proposed new Starbucks location in Seattle can help me relive those golden days of youth: they’ve opened a shop made almost entirely out of shipping containers. Well, okay, not fun, awesome cardboard boxes, but those giant steel shipping containers you see on freight trains and cargo ships, which were a lot harder to get my hands on when I was a kid (maybe it’s easier now, who knows?).
Says the New York Times’ Green blog:
Containers have become a hot commodity in the green building movement because so many of them are piling up at American ports and are in need of recycling, says Peter DeMaria, the principal in a design firm that does a lot of work with them. “Due to the trade imbalance with China, millions of containers are left in our ports every year,” he said.
And it just so happens the containers are perfect modular building blocks for construction.
Up-cycling, they call it, or “using a material and deploying it in nearly its original state.” The Starbucks “container store” is a prototype, and would be for take-away only. Starbucks is not the first to get to play in— I mean, build a facility out of discarded shipping materials: last year, Environmental Leader wrote about Clif Bar & Company’s new headquarters, which “used a host of repurposed materials from shipping container wood to blue jeans.”