Tips for green living #2: share your tools

Blog / Festival of the Future


Allegedly, the average power drill is used for 12 minutes of its life. Now, I’ve seen a few different estimates for this, but even if one were to go with an overly conservative amount (like an hour), the point remains clear – most people don’t need to own their own power drills, especially when you consider that there are 50 million of them in American homes.

An innovative solution which grew out of the 1970s co-operative movement, and which has become even more popular in current times of economic hardship, has been tool sharing schemes. Whether formal and highly organsied, like a tool bank with storage facilities and a complex lending system or an informal group of neighbours and friends, sharing tools is a great way to encourage self-reliance, enabling people to make repairs, and strengthening community ties.

It’s an economically pragmatic approach, as most tools probably don’t have a great cost-per-use ratio. And, despite the supermarket vibe of vast tool warehouses, tools shouldn’t be disposable, purchased simply for one job and then left unsued for years. The materials their manufacture requires, and the energy their manufacture requires mean that we should focus on sharing out and caring for tools we already have.

Tool sharing is a great example of how we’re all better off when we share what we have – reducing our environmental impact, making home repairs and fixing jobs affordable for whom tools may be too expensive to buy for one-off use, or occasional use, and strengthening community ties. What’s not to like?

This summer we’re running a six-week festival all about building a brighter future. We’ll be running guided tours, talks and workshops – as well as two special one-day events – to get you inspired about making a difference. Next Wednesday we’re excited to be hosting Energy Day, a one-day festival exploring our energy futures with workshops, games, and lots of opportunity for discussion.

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  • Tracey

    Don’t forget, any old hand tools you no longer need, can be given to your local group of Tools for Self Reliance (or other charity) to be refurbished and sent out in kits to artisans in poverty stricken African countries: strengthening the global community and recycling at the same time (and keeping all those ‘old men’* who do the refurbishing off the streets and out of mischief!). See for further details.

    *the refurbishers are in the main retired men, though younger men and women (both young and old) partake too!