Turning Trash Into Treasure: Shipping Containers Find New Home in San Diego Woman's Backyard

The many uses of cargo containers.

A huge crane lifted a two-ton cargo container over Margaret McLean's house Tuesday.

The container was lifted over her house, the garage and two tall palm trees, and ended up by the edge of her San Diego pool.

"This particular one is going to be a pool cabana," said contractor Tim Boyes. "So it has a shower and restroom."

Shipping containers like these are being recycled around the world. After years of being used to haul merchandise inside massive ships, they are retired to a new fate. Some are turned into homes, some into businesses and others, like the two in Margaret's Talmage neighborhood, will now sit by her pool.

"We are going to put in windows and doors," said Boyes. "We're gonna have a big opening with sliding doors."

The shipping container Boyes is using came from Italy. He says the owner wanted a building that was green and this was a great way to build and recycle at the same time.

Boyes says they can stack 64,000 pounds on the containers when they are on ships. He says they are probably one of the best things to build out of, adding that the project will be cheaper than if he built it with concrete and wood.

And while neighbor Bella Hollingworth likes the idea she's not sure she likes the looks.

"Speaking from an aesthetic point of view, I don't particularly like these storage units because I think they're unattractive," Hollingworth said. 

But she says she likes things that are unconventional and hopes they will be turned into something more pleasing to look at.

The contractor says they will be improved and finished by the end of September.

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