BUFFALO, N.Y. — Repairs around the home are something many of us have to do at one point or another. But the tools, and even the skills needed, are sometimes a little bit out of reach.
A growing non-profit is trying to make a difference by helping you fix your stuff and keep items out of the landfill.
The Tool Library has been loaning out items for the past 12 years.
“As of today, I think it's just over 4,200 items," said Darren Cotton, the library's founder.
He started with about 50 tools.
The library allows the tools to hammer, wrench and drill another day.
“The average power drill is used 12 minutes over its entire lifetime," Cotton said. "Thinking about all the energy, time and materials that went into manufacturing that drill, transporting it to the store, and it's like to be used for 12 minutes and then sit on a shelf or in a closet and then be thrown out. So it's just like so wasteful.”
Reduce, reuse and recycle – they’re familiar terms. Cotton thinks there should be a fourth R for repair.
“We can keep things in circulation much longer,” he said. “It's about 4,200 pounds that we've diverted from the landfill."
In addition to the Tool Library, Cotton runs the Dare To Repair Café. It's a free program where people can get help fixing items from volunteers like Paul Jones.
“We do anywhere from a half a dozen to a dozen pieces,” Jones said. “I'm really good at lamps.”
He has a wide range of skills that he's passing on.
“When dad was working on stuff, it was, 'OK boys, stick around'," Jones said. "So we were we had to stick around so it kind of rubbed off.”
The knowledge is great for saving your favorite fan, vacuum, KitchenAid appliance and more. Perhaps more importantly, saving them from landfills.
“We don't guarantee it, but we'll try to fix anything,” said Jones.
Repair cafes and tool libraries continue popping up throughout New York state, including spots in Rochester and Albany that opened this past year.
“It's a movement that is spreading, which is really exciting to see," said Cotton. "I think every city should have a tool library.”
With ongoing efforts to be more environmentally friendly, Cotton hopes this push continues gaining steam.
“At the local, state and federal level, there's not a ton of funding to support these," Cotton said. "Based on the impact that we've seen just over the past 10 years as a volunteer-powered organization — like imagine what could happen if there was actually this concerted push to support these sorts of initiatives everywhere.”
More Dare to Repair Café events will be held this year, including one per month through March.
Renters with the Tool Library buy yearly subscriptions starting at $30.