Have you ever wanted to sand that table, build a sandpit for the kids, or cut the hedge in half the usual time but find yourself lacking the right tools or the money to buy them?
Well, the clever folks at Waiuku Zero Waste have come up with the solution with the establishment of the Waiuku Tool Library. The idea is much the same as a book library but instead of a book, you can check out a jackhammer, a hedge trimmer, a few planes, a handsaw or a level to complete the DIY job you want to.
The idea developed from the growing number of usable tools that were ‘dumped’ at the recycling centre that would otherwise be headed for the landfill. These tools were often able be fixed and then recycled for use in the community. The Community Workshop team recognised that with enough of these tools, there could be real benefit in offering their use for a small fee that could be used to help maintain the tools and add to the range.
Such was the appeal of the idea that it was awarded a grant through the Auckland Council Waste Minimisation and Innovation fund which has enabled the team to boost the inventory of the library to close to 200 tools. Everything from a biscuit joiner to a power blower can be borrowed from the library for up to 7 days for a minimum membership fee of $25, although bigger items will incur a bond and possible greater charge.
“Tools are expensive these days, and to get all you need to complete a project can be daunting for many, and it curbs their DIY enthusiasm. We like to think we are all DIY devotees and can offer help and advice to anyone who wants to start and complete their own project.” says chairman Derek Robbins.
Derek is a Chairman of the Waiuku Community Workshop Trust which owns subsidiary Charitable Company, Waiuku Zero Waste Ltd since its inception in 2014. The company employs over 15 locals and runs the Waiuku Community Recycling Centre. The Community Workshop is running the Tool Library initiative and looking to start up the workshop in the near future.
Staff who run the recycling centre are tag-test certified to check the safety of tools before they are repurposed through the Waiuku Zero Waste shop or the library. The team also hosts and helps run repair cafes where locals can bring in their small appliances that have broken or clothing that needs repairs and sit with an expert who will try their best to fix them for no cost.
Community Workshop & Tool Library Coordinator Chelsea is excited to see the Tool Library and repair cafes come to fruition.
“It’s all about connecting people together in our communities, Kiwi’s have a can-do attitude and sometimes just need access to the right tools that are affordable to create something that is going to enhance their own lives or that of their families.
With the repair cafes, we match those that have a skill that they can share to help someone who could otherwise not be in a position to fix their item and so would end up discarding it to landfill. It’s great to see the results that a simple fix can achieve. We would love to have more people come along to share their skills and encourage anyone to come along and see what we are all about.”
At this stage the Tool Library is open every Wednesday from 1pm through 4pm and is located at Waiuku Zero Waste, 5 Hosking Place, Waiuku – Inside the old shop building. You can access membership through their website, or when it is open, and it will cost you $25 for a 3-month membership or $100 for an annual one. With the ability for members to borrow up to 5 tools for 7 days at a time, there is potential for anyone to complete all those projects they have been eager to get underway.
Like any great community initiative, its success is driven by the need to have a strong volunteer base. If you have some time to spare and an interest in mending, DIY or fixing things then please get in touch. You could qualify for a free membership as a volunteer.