What do I do with…?
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
Antique, old, and worn out tools make for great decor/ display pieces.
Missoula Urban Demonstration Project (MUD) has a tool sharing program
Check out their tool inventory to see what they have currently available
Home ReSource is likely to take used but working tools
Call beforehand to confirm acceptance policies
The Missoula Public Library’s MakerSpace offers a host of tools and resources that the public can use for free or a minimal cost
Get access to tools and skilled volunteers who can help you fix your worn or broken items at your local Fixit Clinic
Register for the next Missoula Fixit Clinic here
These places have machines, large tools, and large equipment for rent:
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:
ferrous metals (mild steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, wrought iron)
non-ferrous metals (aluminum, copper, brass, die cast, radiators, stainless steel, catalytic converters)
Axmen Recycling – call to confirm current acceptance policies
Untreated wood components of tools can be recycled into wood chips or garden mulch
9775 Summit Drive
1515 Wyoming St.
Missoula Public Library
301 East Main
3001 W. Broadway
Missoula Urban Demonstration Project
1527 Wyoming St.
Main office: (406) 721-7513
Tool Library: (406) 549-6790
3605 W Broadway Street
Pacific Steel and Recycling
Republic Services Recycling Center
3207 W Broadway Street
Star Rental Inc.
2105 South Ave. W
9393 Cartage Road