However, there are some uses of second hand containers that lie far away from busy city centres, or anywhere at all on the beaten track.
In an article this week, the Guardian featured ten of the best off-grid holiday homes people could hire this summer, innovative little pads in the middle of nowhere, where idyllic trips to truly get away from it all could be enjoyed.
These include natural caves in Worcestershire, an old lighthouse on Walney Island in Cumbria, bothies on the Scottish island of Eigg and a crofter’s house on Skye.
Also in there is a former shipping container, now fashioned into a bed and breakfast retreat. Known as The Box, this hideaway on the edge of the North York Moors National Park is described by the paper as “a chic contemporary space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a raised deck area for alfresco dining”.
The best feature, the article notes, is the large floor-to-ceiling window space that has been created, providing a wonderful chance to enjoy the sunrise and also the starry nights in a location far from the light pollution of urban areas.
None of this means anyone should talk down the urban clusters of shipping containers. Indeed, as the Sheffield Star reports, the Steel city is itself about to open up a new attraction based around a group of used containers selling food and drink to city centre visitors.
Nonetheless, the way another shipping container has been put to use in a far quieter corner of Yorkshire demonstrates the versatility they can offer, providing everything from a tasty bite to a taste of rural paradise.