Photo: Dr. Grant Saff, 2006.
Once a container has completed its useful life of about 12 years, often because it is damaged and judged to be no longer suitable to carry cargo, several outcomes are possible. The most common is the container to be scrapped and the materials recycled. On occasion, a discarded container can be put to unique uses, such as a bus shelter (above photo), a temporary warehouse, or even office space. This is particularly the case for developing economies where repositioning a damaged container to be repaired or scrapped is too expensive. There is also an emerging branch of architecture that considers the usage of containers as a building block for the construction of larger structures.