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10 Easy Upcycling Projects For Kids

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

TTL Kids! happily situates itself in The Maker Movement, which can be broadly defined as a collective of people around the world who are employing do-it-yourself or do-it-with-others techniques to develop unique products and devices. Tinkering, coding, building, creating and innovating – together. This movement rests on makers making their designs open-source and available for anyone to reproduce off Internet sites such as Instructables or Thingiverse. We believe  that getting kids involved in areas that teach the skills and thought processes most likely to be in demand by future job markets is incredibly important. See Our Maker Education Programs But more than introducing Young Makers to the latest craze in Lego Bot building or DIY Fidget Spinners, we’re interested in getting Young Makers to think differently. We want to demystify how things work. We want our Young Makers to consider the potential of things, to make what hasn’t yet been made. One way to do this is to reuse and repurpose. We like to think of reclaiming and repurposing not as interchangeable verbs but as one leading to the other. Our instructors encourage Young Makers to reclaim items – to take items back – from the landfills, from our storage bins of forgotten things, from our junk drawers, and to repurpose them. We want them to rethink what these items can do, what they might be good for, and then give them new purpose, new life. Dustpans and wooden spoons become bot bodies, old circuit boards become lampshades, random washers and fasteners become switches. When we allow our imagination to start seeing the potential in things, we reconsider the purpose of things and we keep our minds flexible. And then maybe, when it’s time to go buy a new, whatever, we use what we have and make it ourselves instead. Here are a few great upcycling projects to bring that out-side-the-box thinking into the home: *** 1) Spool Knitter Spool knitting is something all kids enjoy – but why go out and buy the spool when kids can make their own out of old popsicle sticks, toilet paper rolls and elastic bands? You can go even more minimal than that by using an old thread spool and some nails.   2) Weaving Loom Old CDs combined with some leftover yarn or yarn from a thrift store can be transformed into the perfect upcycled weaving frame!   3) Wind Chimes Save up those tins cans, find an old someone’s throwing away and you’ve got yourself a project!   4) E-jewelry Electronic e-waste is increasingly becoming a serious problem in the Western world as we continually upgrade our phones, computers and other devices on a regular basis. But, there’s no reason some of that e-waste can’t be repurposed! Over the years of...

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May Is Membership Month

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

For the whole month of May, with the purchase of a membership to the Toronto Tool Library OR The Sharing Depot we’re giving away one month FREE to: New Members Members who bring in a New Member Become A Member! If you purchase a membership online: when you come in to borrow an item or pick up your card, you can mention to the Tool Librarian that you participated in the offer and they will ensure the extra month is added to your account. What are the benefits of becoming a member?   Save Money By paying an annual membership fee that starts at $50/year to access over 5,000+ tools – you will be saving yourself from spending hundreds of dollars or more on tools that will end up sitting in your basement, closet or garage.   Save The Environment By borrowing tools from a tool library, we are cutting back on the waste and inefficiency that comes with purchasing to own. Why should every house in a neighbourhood have a drill sitting in the basement or garage when the average drill is used for just 14 minutes in its usable lifespan? The Tool Library also has a team of volunteer ‘Fixperts’ who join us every week to maintain and repair tools as needed to keep them out of the landfill and in circulation for as long as possible.   Save Space Physical clutter leads to a loss of time and money – time spent searching for things you were certain you had somewhere and money invested into new things you can’t find because they are buried at the back of a closet or forgotten in a storage unit. One of the best parts about borrowing from a lending library is that you don’t need to worry about storing the item in your home – you simply return it to the community hub for someone else to use.   Support Your Community Not everyone can afford to purchase tools. Not everyone can afford to learn how to use tools. By becoming a member of a tool library in your community, you are allowing others to access resources they otherwise would not be able to. An affordable membership rate and free or low cost DIY workshops give everyone an opportunity to participate in making and building what they need. Your membership fees allow these spaces to exist and therefore lift communities up by making access to resources a more level playing field. Read more about the benefits of Tool Libraries...

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Good Healthy Food For All

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

The Toronto Tool Library and Sharing Depot are extremely excited to be partnering with FoodShare Toronto as a pick-up location for their Good Food Box Program! What is the Good Food Box Program? FoodShare’s Good Food Box is a subsidized fresh produce distribution program. FoodShare’s distribution of fresh produce started 15 years ago as a way to create linkages between field and table. The goal was to increase the income of farmers, at the same time making affordable produce more accessible to Toronto communities and, particularly prioritizing low income people. Find more information about the project online here. This is the easier, cheaper way to access local, seasonal produce in Toronto. How Does It Work? Step 1: Select which food box you would like to order. You can see what’s inside the different boxes by clicking here. Step 2: Contact Jonathan at to place your order. Step 3: Your box will be delivered to 1803 Danforth Ave, Toronto Tool Library/Sharing Depot. Delivery days are the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. Pick up your box and enjoy! Step 4: Repeat steps 1 through 3! Order A Good Food Box! Find out more about the Good Food Box program by reading their online flyer. To order your box, contact Jonathan at  Why order a Good Food Box? There are so many reasons, but we will break it down to our Top 3:   1) You Save Money The Good Food Program acts like a large buying club purchasing large quantities of produce from farmers and the Ontario Food Terminal at affordable rates. They are able to do this because all the boxes are pre-ordered and each type of box contains the same contents. Like our organization, volunteers who give their time help to keep rates down for you. Over 15 volunteers come to FoodShare’s warehouse every week to pack up to 1500 boxes. FoodShare also subsidizes the cost of the staff, warehouse rent and delivery costs by accepting generous donations and grants from the public, governments and foundations. The value of the $18 box at a regular supermarket often ranges between $25 and $27, depending on the store and the time of year.   2) You Support Local Family Farms A healthy farm economy helps to boost the urban economy and helps ensure we have access to affordable, local produce. By building relationships with local farmers we keep box prices low while paying hardworking farmers a fair price.   3) You Support the Environment Eating local food that is in season is more environmentally friendly: Imported food travels on average 2,500 km before it reaches our homes. That is roughly the distance between Toronto and Regina, for perspective. In general, the international agricultural process is responsible for 44% to 57% of global...

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Inside The Fight For Repair – And What We Can Do To Help

Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

At one time, when you bought a product, you owned it and could do with it as you wanted. You could perform your own maintenance, make upgrades and experiment with making upgrades. Entire industries grew up around this concept, particularly in performance cars. You could tinker on your car in the garage to squeeze another few horsepower out of it, or change it’s efficiency, or remodel the body to fit your aesthetic pleasures. Today, it is a far murkier issue. Many companies, particularly tech companies argue that only the manufacturer has the right to repair or change the product. The consumer is merely a licence holder, not an owner. You are leasing your cell phone, no matter how much you paid for it. Your car is as much computer as machine, and the software is a protected operating system – closed to tinkering.   Companies take one of two standpoints in defending their stance on this: liability and intellectual property rights.   In the first, companies try to protect themselves from users suing them over malfunctions or improper use. The US in particular is a very litigious society, meaning that there are safety labels on just about everything: chainsaws to warn you they are sharp, coffee to tell that it’s hot and toasters to let you know you shouldn’t make toast underwater (um, duh?). Apple doesn’t want you to repair your phone because you might make a mistake and cause your lithium battery to catch fire. John Deere doesn’t want you fixing your combine because you could do something that would injure you or your “significant investment” in it’s equipment. The intellectual property rights issue is a far harder argument. Software – by not being a physical item – means it’s covered by copyright laws, which grant significant rights to the rights holder. Just like you can’t rewrite parts of your favourite novel to suit your tastes, you can’t edit proprietary software, or break encryptions to do so. The same DRM laws that prevent you copying or editing DVDs and Blue Rays also protect the software that regulates the engine in your car, your tractor.   So where does that leave us, the users?   One answer is to abandon technology in favour of older forms, but that’s a foolish argument. That computer in your car regulates oxygen consumption and prevents producing even more harmful emissions while simultaneously increasing mileage and efficiency. Think of the cars of the 60s and 70s and then think of cars today. Significantly improved. Cellphones give me instantaneous access to a worldwide communications network that lets me learn about NASA’s Mars missions, research medicine, talk to my friend in the UK, my brother in Alberta,...

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Where To Recycle E-Waste In Toronto

Posted by on Apr 27, 2017 in Tool Blog |

Your E-Waste Recycling Guide for Toronto! At our Drop, Swap & Shop event last weekend at Evergreen Brickworks, we were extremely pleased to see how many of you brought out old electronics to be recycled by Recycle My Electronics! So. much. e-waste. was retired with dignity last Sunday. So we decided to put a handy list together for Torontonians – so we can ensure that we live like it’s Earth Day everyday and avoid putting e-waste where it doesn’t belong. *** It should be noted: if you are looking to get an item repaired, the Repair Cafe Toronto now hold weekly repair sessions at our Hillcrest Location (830 St Clair West) every Sunday afternoon from 12-4pm.   1) Recycle My Electronics Recycle My Electronics have drop-off locations all over the city where you can take a number of different items.   2) reBOOT Canada reBOOT Canada is an awesome organization. They are a Toronto-based, Canadian-registered charity that safely recycles and refurbishes donated computer equipment, through focused e-waste landfill diversion. They bridge the digital divide by providing subsidized and reliable access to technology, software and computer education to those who need it. You can drop off or have them pick items up. More information about drop-offs/pick-ups and what they accept here.   3) Project Get Reel Toronto’s Red Propeller runs Project Get Reel, which takes VHS tapes and other magnetic media, digital and vinyl to be recycled for a small fee. They divert the recyclable components of VHS and other media tapes from going into landfills. Which conserves natural resources, reduces waste and accelerates the transition to a circular economy. YAY! They offer a data conversion service for those wanting to transfer the information on their old VHS tapes into a digital format. They also have a car seat recycling program, which we love. Because used car seats can not be resold, a staggering ¼ of a million of them end up in landfills every year. That’s just not acceptable. Please spread the word about Toronto’s car seat recycling service.   4) TerraCycle TerraCycle will provide you with a shipping sticker so that you can send your E-Waste to them in the mail free of charge. They take a limited selection of items, but they do have a points program where you collect points for every item sent in and redeem them for charitable gifts or a payment of $0.01 per point to the non-profit organization or school of your choice. And here come the really cool part: they are also transparent about where their e-waste is going and how it is broken down for reuse. They aim to use a circular approach when repurposing the waste collected, including refurbishing electronics, turning waste into pellets...

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7 Lifestyle Changes To Make It Earth Day Everyday

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd – a day when environmentalists, activists and citizens organize and attend events that demonstrate support for environmental protection (we’re holding our own with Evergreen Brickworks!). Earth Day was launched April 1970 by Denis Hayes and has evolved into an international day of action – observed by 200 countries around the world! – to change human behavior and provoke policy changes. On that note of changing human behaviour, we’ve put together a list for those of you looking to make it Earth Day everyday!   1) Avoid Buying Things When you purchase an item new in a store, you are creating demand in the market for that product, essentially voting for more of that thing to be made. But over-consumption is harming the planet, is a big factor in climate change and also negatively impacts human emotional well-being. Drop below the radar of the invisible hand by swapping, trading, borrowing and utilizing Toronto’s ‘free markets.’ Where you can, try: joining us at our gigantic bi-annual Drop, Swap & Shop event with Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto (one coming up on April 23rd) trading for items using the popular app Bunz Trading Zone. This app is fantastic because it has a search bar – if there is something in particular you are looking for, you just plug it into the search engine and any user with that item up for trade pops up. borrow items from your local Library of Things or from your neighbours using the handle app Peerby. looking for items at Toronto’s Really Really Free Market, which takes place the first Saturday of every month. Yes, it is exactly as it sounds – people bring things they no longer want or need and everything it placed out on tables in a park for others to take. it. is. amazing. looking for items on Toronto’s Freecycle app, another great resource where Torontonians put up items they no longer want for free on the app, which also has a search function so you can search for specific items you need. 2) Dare To Repair!  When something breaks down, rather than tossing it out, take it to a Repair Cafe to get it fixed instead. The repair cafe in Toronto is an incredible resource – we now have a space for them at our 830 St Clair West location where they will be holding weekly Repair Cafes every Sunday afternoon from 12-4pm! How does a Repair Cafe work? Bring your broken item and an expert volunteer will fix it up for you while you have the provided coffee/tea and snacks! I was thoroughly impressed with them when I brought in a clothing hand steamer that...

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