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Loan > Use > Return > Repeat: Gold Coast Tool Library Inc.

Helen Stubbs | February 2020

The Gold Coast Tool Library is powering up to lend locals useful items, embracing the shift towards sharing and closed-circuit economies, where people borrow rather than own items and keep things in good condition, rather than using and discarding them.

The tool library will also host Repair Cafes at pop-up events.

These services will save members’ money and reduce waste, while building happier communities through events in maker spaces and inclusive sheds. They will also decrease packaging and divert waste from landfill by reusing household items.

These initiatives complement the City of Gold Coast’s Waste Strategy, which outlines how the City and the community can actively practise waste avoidance and other positive waste behaviours.

The team behind the Gold Coast Tool Library is David Paynter, Susan Murray and Oneika Polke. All are passionate about reducing carbon footprints and building happier communities.

“A tool library is a group who loans items to members,” says Tool Library President, David Paynter.

“For a yearly membership fee we let members borrow a range of household and hobby items which have been donated, including upholstery tools, karchers, ice cream makers, food dehydrators, tents, surfboards and other items.

“We’re operating on a closed circuit model, keeping things in a clean and safely usable condition for longer, rather than a linear economy where rubbish goes to landfill, so we’re decreasing climate and supply chain risk.”

Thriving tool libraries in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney report that items return in better condition than when lent out, due to members’ care for the items.

The Tool Library is already accepting donations. Paynter welcomes people to get in touch by email, phone or through their Facebook page.

“We’d like things that are really useful but only occasionally needed, like Go-Pros and ice cream makers. Things you don’t want cluttering up the kitchen or cupboards, that you’d only use sometimes,” says Paynter.

Community response has been enthusiastic with over 100 expressions of interest. They invite more volunteers to get in touch to help grow the association’s capacity.

“We’re looking for volunteers to help to get us up and running, to help with things like building our website.”

Paynter says the library will start in a central location and roll out more branches to cover all parts of the Gold Coast. They plan to establish a community garden and host workshops, also.

Repair Café Gold Coast: Would you like a Screwdriver with that?

Repair Cafes are a different but closely aligned service.

“The Repair Cafes can pop up at events in any venue, like a community hall,” says Paynter.

“Our fixers come from the community. They’re people with a passion for tinkering, mending or repairing. They might know how to sew or be jewellery makers; some are qualified electricians or tech people,” he says.

“Customers can bring in anything they can carry. The fixer and customer sit down together and share the skills to repair things, enjoy a conversation and interaction.

“You can pull things apart, problem solve. It’s a win-win situation. You’ve done something great, met a friend, and saved an item going to landfill. And we’re sharing repair skills, so they don’t end up as a lost art.”

To find out more about the Gold Coast Tool Library and Repair Cafe Gold Coast, look them up on Facebook, email hello@toollibrary.org.au, or call David on 0404 833 741.

 

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