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Starbucks opens store made from recycled shipping containers

Starbucks opens store made from recycled shipping containers

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Recycled shipping containers are being used for everything from pop-up grocery stores in Seattle to a mall in London. Now Starbucks is jumping on the bandwagon. Will it be the new icon of fast food?

Recycled shipping containers are being used for everything from pop-up grocery stores in Seattle to a mall in London. Now Starbucks is jumping on the bandwagon.

Starbucks opened its first coffee shop made out of recycled shipping containers in Tukwila, Washington, south of Seattle. Built from just four shipping containers, the shop will be a drive-up and walk-up only, so leave your laptop at home.

The store was built to LEED standards, using green energy, water efficiency, and, of course, construction material from recycled content. It's part of a global initiative by the company to green their buildings. With more than 17,000 stores around the world, that's a lot of greener buildings. Inhabitat spoke with Alan Hilowitz, of Starbucks, about the design.

Our store designs reflect Starbucks’ core mission as a gathering place for the communities we serve, as well as a commitment to reduce our environmental footprint and use our scale for good. Our designers were inspired to create this store both as a result of the shipyard that can be seen out the back windows of our headquarters in South Seattle, as well as a desire to recycle the same kind of shipping containers that transport our coffees and teas around the world.”

What's with the uptick in the use of shipping containers for green building? The New York Times explains:

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.

Starbucks are all over our global cities, and they're not afraid to do things like put a bunch of stores really close to one another. So it will be interesting to see if Starbucks takes off with this concept and spreads it throughout the world.

Will this store lead other major companies to open up shipping container stores? Forget arches, will containers be the new icon of fast food?

Photo: Starbucks via Inhabitat

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure