Why Buy When You Can Borrow?
Keen to try surfing but don’t own a board? Need to drill a hole in a wall or trim a hedge but don’t own the power tools? Imagine being able to borrow these items for tasks you only do every now and then, rather than splashing cash to get them. Community-run tool and other sharing ‘libraries’ help save you money and kick goals for the planet.
Tool libraries have been running in North America and Europe for years. It’s great news for us that Australia is slowly catching up as we rethink the way we consume. The sharing movement is building on home turf.
Why is sharing good?
It’s a sobering fact, but the average power drill is used for only 13 minutes in its lifetime. The sharing model gives tools multiple lives, which means less resources needed to make new tools and less waste going to landfill. That’s a big tick for the environment.
Tool libraries are also a great way to meet your neighbours and learn some new skills – community and borrowing go hand in hand. And you save bucks, which can be diverted to fun holiday plans instead.
What’s happening locally?
Sydney’s first tool library, the Inner West Tool Library (IWTL), opened this year in Petersham. There are now around 13 tool libraries in Australia including a few in New South Wales: Make-Do Illawarra, Share Shop Newcastle and Hawkesbury Remakery.
IWTL’s mission is to provide tools for all people to live low waste, sustainable lives.
“We’re driven by our vision of a future where all people can access the tools they need to create, connect and thrive,” IWTL founder Amy Croucher says.
Only six months since opening its doors, IWTL has more than 130 members, has completed 435 loans and has already helped save borrowers $32,000, or $400 per person. Its 200-plus item inventory is constantly growing and includes circular saws, drills, pressure washers and hedge trimmers. There’s even an ice cream maker, slow cooker and a surf board.
The most popular items? Hedge trimmers, sanders, clamps, lawn mowers, circular saws, drills, pressure washers and the food dehydrator. Go the DIY!
Here in the east, the Bondi Toy Library has been running for 33 years, allowing families to borrow a great variety of children’s toys. They even have children’s party hire packages including dress-up clothes and a bubble machine. You can also borrow games and toys at Randwick City Library.
How do I make reuse second nature?
• Join or donate to your local tool/toy library or consider starting your own. Waverley Council may also be able to help with advice if you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Check out IWTL on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iwtool
• Get involved in the Garage Sale Trail on the weekend of October 19-20, another great option to give your stuff a second life. You can register now at www.garagesaletrail.com.au.