Why buy when you can borrow?

The Brisbane Tool Library is helping Queenslanders to save money and the environment.

If you've ever planned a grand DIY project, only to baulk at paying hundreds of dollars for a piece of specialty equipment that you’ll only use once, you’re not alone.

The Brisbane Tool Library (BTL) gives Queenslanders who dabble in DIY home improvements or enjoy the occasional camping trip the ability to borrow more than 2000 items including tools, camping gear, kitchen appliances and sporting equipment.

BTL founder Sabrina Chakori said the community organisation was established in 2017 in response to over-consumption in Australia

“A lot of the social and environmental problems we’re facing today are linked to our current economic system where we over-consume and buy all these things we don’t really need,” Ms Chakori said.

“The Brisbane Tool Library is an alternative model to consumerism.

“We have enough stuff between us to share with our local community and, by borrowing, people can reduce their environmental impact and save money – for the price of one tool ($75 annual membership fee), you can borrow thousands of them.”

All items available to borrow from the BTL are second-hand, often rescued from landfill or donated by the local community.

“We receive a lot of donations from older people who are downsizing or may not be able to use their tools or equipment anymore,” Ms Chakori said.

“We posted on social media about lending a large hiking backpack to a member who was travelling to French Polynesia and the person who donated the backpack commented that he had travelled to the same island with the same backpack almost 20 years earlier.

“People love knowing their items will be used and appreciated by other people.”

The most frequently borrowed items include electric lawnmowers, tents and kayaks.

“Our camping equipment, like gazebos and tents, are quite popular and our jackhammers are always out,” Ms Chakori said.

“Not everyone needs to own a lawnmower or a whipper snipper, so sharing resources just makes sense.”

BTL also runs workshops to help members learn the skills to complete their DIY projects.

“We realised that people may not have the skills and confidence to use the thousands of tools available to borrow, so we run workshops to teach them not only how to use the tools but to reduce consumption and waste,” Ms Chakori said.

“Almost 99 percent of the participants in our introduction to power tools workshop were women who are completely capable of using the tools but have just never had the chance.”