How to recycle old tools

Filed in Blog, Recycle by on March 18, 2015 15 Comments
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how to recycle old tools for self relianceYou know I live with a hoarder, right?

I’d love to show you a picture of the inside of our garage, but I fear the judgment.

It really does look like a jumble sale Aladdin’s Cave in there.

Although Mr Green promises everything has a use and purpose and will come in useful ‘one day’, I have my doubts.

I rather suspect we end up with MORE stuff because he can’t find anything, so we buy duplicates.

And I suspect that when he’s six feet under I’ll be left with an awful lot of decluttering to do.

But, ya know, the world would be a boring place if we all agreed on everything.

This week Zero Hero Brenda wrote to me to tell me how you can recycle old tools and help other people in the process!

Tools for Self Reliance (TFSR) need old tools and even Singer sewing machines. They service them then send to India or Africa to help people help themselves. You’ll find a list on their website of the tools they need.

The list includes plumbing tools, arc welders, building tools, electrical repair tools, heavy duty drills, bench grinders, heavy duty spades and shovels – the list goes on and on. Perfect for a serious declutter or if you’re taking part in #DumpYourJunk; so do check it out.

Brenda wrote “Go to their website and they will put you in touch with a go between who will collect your items. I have done it and it worked perfectly smoothly.”

Have you ever used Tools for Self Reliance or do you know of any other ways to get rid of old tools?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (15)

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  1. Christine says:

    As ever Freecycle is a good place for offering smaller stuff such as gardening tools and household tools. Plant pots are a bit more of a headache but sometimes small growers and community gardens will take both tools and plant pots.

    Car boot sales in the spring are also good for selling off unwanted garden tools along with other household tools.

    Locally we have a Facebook selling page where you can offer stuff for sale and also the local paper does small ads where if your price is low they will put the ad up free.

    Sometimes local charities get a write up in local papers and say that they have projects where they could use various tools.

    Trouble is that people can use this sort of facility to offload “junk” which is seriously only for spares/repairs when they can’t get to the local household waste management facility and hope that folks will collect the stuff and dispose for them.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Thanks for all your great ideas Christine. I like the idea of a local Facebook group and a call out from charities. And yes, we do need to differentiate between things that are unwanted and genuine junk!

  2. Philippa says:

    Our local Wyevale Garden Centre takes plastic plant pots for recycling. So if you are thinking of buying plants there that you will re-plant you could also think of recycling old plant pots there at the same time or on the next visit…

  3. Philippa says:

    Reusing though is of course better than recycling….

  4. You know Philippa your local garden centre has thought of a good way to get you to go back for another visit and possibly spend more. If they can reuse the plant pots and save themselves coppers then perhaps it will be good for their prices.

    You are so right about reusing but people don’t often think of reuse.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hi Christine, I’m so happy to read your comment because the theme for this year’s Zero Waste Week is going to be reuse; and I was wondering what participants might think of it. Seems I might be onto a winner 😉

  5. Emily Bowie says:

    There’s a good balance between keeping what’s useful and getting rid of what isn’t. I’ve written about it a bit – I think the best option lies in the middle of both of your values!

    • Mrs Green says:

      Thanks for adding to the conversation, Emily. I’ll take a look at your blog and see what you’ve written 🙂

  6. Reusing instead of recycling is 10X better! In fact sometimes things are dumped in recycle bins that can’t even be recycled, and then end up in the dump. We cried when we learned millions or possibly billions of LEGO pieces end their life in land fills.

    We created to find a home for these used Legos. We also created a page called “Recycle Anything” that shows other places to reuse “hard to recycle items”. We love to hear how others have done so much good, while cleaning their house and making their life more simple. We are new to “social media”, so aren’t really sure how to share, and get the word out about this.

    Just before I clean my garage, I either read an article on Compulsive Hoarding on Wikepedia, or watch an episode of the TV show “Hoarders”. Somehow that really gets me in the right frame of reference to tackle things that “I might use some day”. I hope you had a great Earth Day!

    • Mrs Green says:

      Great tip to watch a show like the hoarders before tackling decluttering – love that! Thanks for telling us about brickrecycler – looks a great concept 🙂

  7. If you live in the Northampton UK area you can donate old garden tools to the Northampton Hope Centre, social enterprise, Hope Tools, who recycles old garden tools to sell to raise money for our work with homeless people. We employ homeless people to produce the tools so giving self-esteem and a route out of homelessness.

  8. Dave says:

    I don’t think donating is as easy as some people think. I closed up my workshop a year ago (retired) and must have a large van load of varied tools from welders to fine tweezers for dashboard repair. I can find loads of sites that say “bring them to us and we can recycle” others say take them to a collection centre and we will collect from there. I think I have more tools to donate than would be in any tools collection centre at any one time so when I ask if they could be picked up from here I get “oh no we can only collect from a drop-off collection point”.
    The funny thing is I could volunteer to be a collection point and have tools collected from here……Now how funny is that??
    Giving away a few thousand pounds worth of tools, I don’t feel like hiring a truck, filling it up and lugging the flipping stuff loads of miles to a collection point, I think a lot of it WILL end up in a skip for the tip.

    • Mrs Green says:

      It’s such a shame when we have valuable things, yet, because of our disposable culture and consumerist attitudes, it can be hard to find new homes for things. I’m sure your story is not unusual. I remember having to trash many old books once because nobody wants them any more. It’s so sad.

  9. Philippa says:

    The word “Recycle” is being used both as an end of life process into something the same or different and instead of the word “Reuse”. We’ve got stuck at the wrong end of the waste hierarchy and need to concentrate further up on Reducing, Reusing, Repairing and Repurposing. Is there somewhere where you can advertise within your own world of work?
    Freecycle can be good too. Here I think we have moved (unfortunately) onto replacement units instead of more specialised and skilled repairs and I wonder if there is a charity which works supporting repair shops overseas where workers are more skilled?

    You wouldn’t believe the trouble it is to try and get replaced the handle on a garden fork – just because so many cheap garden forks are imported it seems that I am expected to ditch a perfectly good fork instead of replacing the handle as you would have done routinely in the past.

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