What do I do with…?

Organized Tools Hanging Up


What is tool waste? Ever since the dawn of humankind, we have been finding ways to make our work easier. Used to be that when a tool would break, the user would find a way to fix it. From crafting a new handle for a hammer to sharpening a blade, repairing tools was commonplace for centuries. With the rise of disposability, the increase in technical complexity of tools, and the availability of cheap (both in quality and price) alternatives, replacement largely has overrun repair, which means more and more tools are entering our waste stream.

Why is tool waste a problem? As with most waste, the obvious problems include resource extraction for new products and potentially hazards of landfill disposal. Tools, inherently made to be useful, are most useful when used, not when tossed in the trash.

Examples: hammers, mallets and sledges, wrenches, screwdrivers, wood saws, planes, wood chisels, dies, drills, files, punches, reamers, taps, clamps, pliers, vises, goggles, gloves, saws, spanners, hind planes, rulers, bevels and squares, levels, socket sets, pliers, tape measures, caulking and sausage guns, punches, bolt cutters, chalk lines, knives, pencils, tools for measuring, striking, fastening, woodcutting, metal cutting, holding, grinding, sharpening, finishing, as well as abrasives, safety equipment, and tool storage and accessory containers


  • Keep the tools at home that you use on a regular basis and consider borrowing or renting others that you will only need occasionally

  • Choose tools made out of natural materials instead of plastic/synthetic ones that are hard to repair, repurpose, recycle, etc.

  • It's not about the size of your toolbox, it's about the functionality



  • It is possible to recycle your entirely metal tools as scrap metal

    • Another option is to isolate the metal parts from the rest of the tool, so that it can then be recycled

  • Scrap metal recycling drop off locations:

  • Untreated wood components of tools can be recycled into wood chips or garden mulch


Axmen Recycling
9775 Summit Drive

Home ReSource
1515 Wyoming St.
(406) 541-8300

Missoula Public Library
301 East Main
(406) 721-2665

Midway Rental
3001 W. Broadway
(406) 728-5392

Missoula Urban Demonstration Project
1527 Wyoming St.
Main office: (406) 721-7513
Tool Library: (406) 549-6790

Moms Rentals
3605 W Broadway Street
(406) 327-1104

Pacific Steel and Recycling
2600 Latimer
(406) 543-7280

Republic Services Recycling Center
3207 W Broadway Street
(406) 721-1120

Star Rental Inc.
2105 South Ave. W
(406) 728-5092

Time Rental
9393 Cartage Road
(406) 543-7136