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Everyday Enviro with Elise - A tool library and the share mentality

Date: 26-Mar-19
Author: Liam Taylor

The Inner West Tool Library is an excellent example of the share economy in action. © Elise Catterall

The Inner West Tool Library is an excellent example of the share economy in action.

This weekend I spent a lovely afternoon at the Petersham Bowling Club. It was a very happy and very social outing but it was also for a very good reason - the launch of the Inner West Tool Library

While the launch was on the weekend, the tool library actually opened in January, and in just 9 short weeks, it has already attracted over 50 members, loaned out over 100 items and built an inventory of over 175 items, and counting.

Spearheaded by Amy Croucher, who got the project rolling, and supported by Reverse Garbage, The Bower, Marrickville Pay-It-Forward, and, of course, Petersham Bowling Club, the library operates every Saturday morning (9-12) and offers all manner of tools and other items, including sewing machines, camping equipment, marquees and even a pretty snazzy looking Stand-up Paddle Board (which was borrowed right in front of our eyes at the launch!).

The mission behind the library is multi-faceted – to protect the environment by reducing waste and depletion of resources, to save money (and space) for members, to foster independence and sustainability, and to create a community of sharing and support.    It is a concept that is so simple and sensible and good in its essence that it is amazing that it hasn’t existed before. 

The library – which is called a library of ‘things’ -  is run by volunteers and operates on an annual membership, which allows unlimited borrowing – and you can borrow items for a full week.  You can reserve items online and then go and collect, or if you are looking for inspiration – or don’t know what tool you need - you can pop in and browse the library and chat to the staff. It makes me so keen to get on to some DIY!

Excitingly, they also accept donations of ‘things’ – and, while they prefer functioning items, they don’t have to be currently working.  I chatted to team member José who was in the middle of fixing a lawn mower to give it a new lease of life.  Instantly I had created a list of 4 or 5 items lying dormant at home – not previously donatable but that I couldn’t bring myself to put in landfill -  that I now know what to do with.

In a happy coincidence, last week also saw the launch of Canon Australia’s new platform for sharing and hiring camera equipment.  Called Kyoyu, which is Japanese for ‘share’, the program allows members to rent out their gear that they aren’t using.  As a photographer, this is such an amazing concept because we invest so much in buying gear that often isn’t used to its potential. 

It’s really heartening that there is an increasing ‘share’ mentality happening – which clearly benefits everyone and the environment. And there is only more to come. Stay tuned!

See you next time! - Elise

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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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