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Inner West Tool Library - Parts 1 and 2

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The circular economy of tools

When Amy Croucher needed tools for some DIY around her home, she was faced with two choices; to buy tools from her local hardware store, even though she suspected she may use them once and leave them on the shelf to gather dust for the rest of their lives, or, find a way to access and use the tools she needed without such economical and environmental expense.

She opted for the latter, and discovered several tool libraries across Australia, but not one in Sydney that was close to her home.

Motivated by environmental awareness and reluctant to contribute to landfill, Amy knew others would jump at the chance to benefit from access to tools that they would use once or twice a year without the hassle of ongoing expense, storage and clutter.

And so, the Inner West Tool Library was founded.

“It’s a library of tools and other useful things that people can borrow and it means that they don’t have to go out and buy these things,” says Amy.

“(Members) can come in on a Saturday morning, pick up a ladder or a pressure washer, and they get to take it home and use it and bring it back. Just like a book library … It’s about having access to the things you need, but that you don’t want to have to actually go out and buy,” says Amy.

The Inner West Tool Library has over 200 members, including some who volunteer their time and expertise, and others who donate tools for communal benefit and use.

The team of Tool Ninjas show members the correct way to use tools and take care of running repairs. Tool Librarians account for the coming and going of tools.

The Inner West Tool Library is open every Saturday morning, 9am-midday at the Petersham Bowling Club.

When Amy first approached Peter Catsi, President of the Petersham Bowling Club, about the possibility of launching a tool library there, he was initially unfamiliar with the concept, but didn’t hesitate to make the space available when he saw the benefits the tool library could bring to the local community.

Amy continues, “We don’t have a typical member.  We have ages from 18 up to 80, and it’s a pretty even split between male and female ... it’s just anyone who wants to use anything from the library.”

Long time member, Den, says he uses the library because of the environmental benefits.  “Reduce, reuse and recycle ... because I borrow (tools) from here, it means I don’t have to purchase it (and contribute to landfill).”

“It’s so fun”, says Belinda, who is a relatively new member to the Tool Library.  “Part of the joy of joining the library is to see the different things that they’ve got ... and everyone here is so friendly. They’ll tell you how to use (the tools) before you try to use it (and) make a mistake by yourself.”

There is a wonderful community atmosphere at the Inner West Tool Library, and with membership growing year on year, the sky is the limit and everyone benefits from this wonderful initiative.

In Part 2 of this documentary below, Helping Hands delves further into the amazing financial and environmental benefits the Inner West Tool Library has made in its first three years of operation ... saving over $200,000 of tool purchases and over 4 tonnes of landfill.


See THE INNER WEST TOOL LIBRARY story and the full catalogue of Helping Hands documentaries at Catch up on full episodes of Helping Hands on 9NOW.  


#helpinghandstvau #makingtheworldabetterplace #documentary #tinnerwesttoollibrary #toolibrary #library #community #environment #environmentallyfriendly #eliminatelandfill #savingmoney

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