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5 Ways to Enjoy Things Without Destroying the Planet

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

Click here to skip to the bottom of the page for the list. An article in Canadian Geographic recently exposed Canada’s dirty secret: we lead the developed world in the per capita production of garbage with 720 kilos per capita of waste produced annually by every Canadian. The same article refers to Toronto as ‘garbage central’, noting that while our waste management system is efficient, that very efficiency keeps us from seeing the 40 tonnes of compacted garbage that leaves the city to arrive at Green Lane landfill near London at a rate of one every 10 minutes. And increased recycling is simply not the answer: “By the time waste gets recycled, 95 per cent of the environmental damage has already occurred – in manufacturing, in oil extraction, in the poisoning of our rivers and air. People have to buy less…our economy is based on endless growth, endless production of what our landfills tell us is basically junk. The cycle just keeps going: manufacture, consume, discard.” Meanwhile, earlier this week several scientists issued a warning titled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice in which they detail the catastrophic effects that human behaviour is having on the planet. Within two days, the statement had gone viral and garnered more then 15,000 signatures from scientists around the globe showing their support for the document. While the warning hints at exponential population growth as a big factor in the problems we face, the scientists added this caveat: The chief concern isn’t really the human numbers. It’s the impact we have. In other words, it is our consumption habits that are the key issue here. The stuff we consume – and the rate at which we are consuming it – is responsible for up to 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and between 50-80 percent of total land, material, and water use. The rate at which this (isn’t) being discussed in the mainstream leads one to wonder if consumerism – the main driver of our economy – isn’t a gigantic elephant in the mall. Can ‘Affluenza‘ – our voracious appetite and addiction for more and more cheap consumer goods – be cured? YES! There are ways to enjoy and use things without destroying our wonderful planet and here are five of them.   Five ways to consume responsibly: * 1) Repair   Let’s face it – our stuff is just not built to last. Planned and built-in obsolescence make it extremely difficult to abstain from buying new stuff. But, you can fight back! When something breaks down, make a concerted effort to get it repaired before tossing it and buying a new one. We are extremely fortunate in Toronto to have a few organizations that are leading the way in making it easier for you...

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A Zero Waste Approach to Celebrating Halloween

Posted by on Oct 30, 2017 in Tool Blog |

Monsters, ghouls and the undead – the most terrifying characters of our collective psyche materialize on Halloween to haunt our streets, our subway cars and our public spaces. But the scariest aspect is no fantasy at all: it’s the very real amount of waste and garbage left in the wake of this horrifying holiday. Disposable candy wrappers, cheaply made decorations and costumes not made to last and Halloween parties with single-use cups, cutlery and plates are enough to send the undead screaming back to their graves. Exact numbers on how much waste is generated over the course of this holiday in Canada are eerily hard to come by, but on average, The Retail Council estimates that Canadians spent about $1 billion on Halloween celebrations in 2015. In 2014, Canadians spent $397 million on Halloween candy alone ($276 million being the average for the other months of the year). Using the financial numbers, one can easily conjure up the frightful amount of waste that continues to haunt us long after the face paint has been washed off and the jack o’lanterns have rotted away. SO, how do you celebrate Halloween (so that your children don’t grow up deprived and resent you forever) while reducing the disgusting amount of waste generated at this time of year? As many of you know, author and high priestess of the zero waste movement Bea Johnson recently joined us in Toronto for a talk on how to shift into a zero waste lifestyle. Let’s apply her five rules for living wasteless to Halloween and see what happens, shall we?   1) Refuse   The first rule of a zero waste lifestyle is to simply say no. Each time you purchase something new in a store, you are creating demand in the market to produce more, which means increased resource extraction, production, packaging and shipping. By refusing to purchase new in store, you are slowing the engine that demands problematic infinite growth on a finite planet. In terms of Halloween, this is the easy part: you look those cheaply made polyester costumes right in their plastic mask faces and just. say. NO. Don’t buy the cheap plastic gravestones that look as though they will crack into a million slivers if just one child dressed as a ghost with poorly-cut eyeholes stumbles into them. Refuse the mass produced stringy fake spider webbing complete with plastic spiders and bugs. Resist the urge to purchase cute disposable napkins, plates and cutlery for your Halloween party. “Ok, ok we get it! Don’t buy shitty Halloween products. But what comes next? How do I decorate my living space and where is my costume going to come from?” Let us proceed.   2) Reduce   The second rule of living a more wasteless life involves decluttering your living...

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Show Us How You Get Wasteless, Toronto!

Posted by on Oct 16, 2017 in Tool Blog |

  In celebration of Waste Reduction Week and Zero Waste October, we’re launching a giveaway to WIN a pair of tickets to see Bea Johnson in Toronto on October 26. Everyone who participates in the giveaway campaign will also be entered into a draw to win a backpack from Patagonia, which was generously donated for the event.     How to Enter the #LetsGetWasteless Giveaway:   Share a photo on Instagram OR Twitter showing one action you take to reduce waste. TAG a friend in your post who you would like to bring with you to see Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home in Toronto. TAG Toronto Tool Library on Instagram @torontotoollibrary OR Twitter @TOtoollibrary Use the hashtag #LetsGetWasteless in your post.   NOTE: if you are participating on Instagram, your account has to be public for us to be able to see your post.   The winner of the giveaway will be selected at random and notified on October 24th. The winner will be contacted on via their post on either Instagram or Twitter. Following the giveaway for tickets to the event, each person who participated in the #LetsGetWasteless campaign will also be entered into a draw to win a Patagonia backpack. The winner of the backpack will be selected at random and contacted on their post, either on Twitter or Instagram....

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Special Renewal Offer

Posted by on Oct 11, 2017 in Tool Blog |

Dear members, This week we announced our new membership options featuring combined Tool Library and Sharing Depot options. As a special gift to members who have been with us before this change, we are happy to offer a special renewal offer! For this special offer we will add one year onto your membership PLUS you will automatically get upgraded to a High-Five Membership for the remainder of your current year. Offer expires by October 31st, 2017! High Five Membership ($100+HST) Pay with...

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Combined Memberships and New Pricing Structure

Posted by on Oct 8, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

  As the Toronto Tool Library approaches its fifth year in operation, we are immensely proud to have loaned almost 60,000 items, saving our members millions of dollars by providing them with access to the tools they need without having to purchase them to own. One of our most popular tools – cordless nail gun (pictured below) – has been borrowed a remarkable 108 times. By sharing this single tool, which retails at $299.00, our members have saved over $32,000!     After Toronto whole-heartedly embraced the concept of borrowing tools, we decided it was time to push the envelope further – what other things could be shared within a community? We launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 and successfully raised over $30,000 to launch Canada’s first Library of Things – The Sharing Depot. Within a month we opened our doors to a combined Tool Library and Sharing Depot location at 1803 Danforth ave., which has since expanded to a second combined location at 830 St. Clair West.   The success of the Tool Library and Sharing Depot has made it clear that Toronto is a city ready to adopt alternative ways of accessing the things they need. What has been less clear, however, is how to operate these community sharing hubs sustainably.   We have struggled to find a pricing model that fits our operating costs while remaining accessible to our members. Increasingly, we heard from our members that a combined membership would simplify things and increase borrowing.   New Membership Options:   After long discussions with our team and our members, keeping in mind the budgets of our members and our organization, we are excited to announce a new pricing plan that reduces our types of memberships from 10 to 4 and combined memberships at just over half the price they were previously. We have also added a renewal feature for our High-Five Members, something that was long overdue (excuse the pun). Here are the new prices in all their sharing glory: What Happens for Current Members?   For Parkdale members, we are hoping to open a combined location in Parkdale at some point but in the meantime members choosing ‘Twice the Fun’ or ‘High Five’ can access our locations in Hillcrest or East York. Here is a short summary list of current membership types and the effect this new structure will have. Feel free to contact us if you have additional questions. Current Casual Members: Your membership will remain the same, we have changed the name ‘Casual’ to ‘Basic’. Current Frequent or High-Five Members: Your membership will be unchanged however can be upgraded to include the Sharing Depot or the Tool Library for $10 plus HST. Otherwise, once your membership expires, renewals will...

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A Winter Alternative to Farmers’ Markets: the Good Food Box

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

The Toronto Tool Library and Sharing Depot at 1803 Danforth Ave are partnering with FoodShare Toronto as a pick-up location for their Good Food Box Program! As the summer farmers’ markets wind down, a Good Food Box is a great winer option for those looking for fresh produce. 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 make affordable produce more accessible to Toronto communities. 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?   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 Whenever possible, the Good Food Box features seasonal Ontario-grown products, supporting local farmers and saving fuel. 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...

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