Zero Waste Gardening: Zero Waste Tips for Sourcing Tools

Many people are now aware of the immense toll that our rubbish places on our planet's ecosystems, and the trouble that is wrought by the plastic and other things we throw away. Living a zero waste lifestyle (or getting as close to one as possible) is the best way to become part of the solution to our global waste problems. Gardeners are well placed to make strides towards this way of life. But how do you go about becoming 'zero waste' in your garden? Here are some tips to help you move towards a zero waste lifestyle – first off: zero waste tips for sourcing tools:

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Reducing Tool Purchases


One of the major problems when it comes to trying to live a zero waste lifestyle is that many of the items we need come packaged, and such packaging is often not recyclable. One of the best ways to move in the right direction is to reduce the amount of things that we buy in the first place.


First off, it is important to think carefully about which tools you really need, and which will truly make your life easier. There are a huge array of different tools on the market, but all you really need is a handful of items.


Implementing an organic, no dig approach may mean that you feel the need for fewer tools, as you will not need to dig, turn or plough a plot as in the common approach.


Reusing – Choosing Second Hand Tools


Community Garden ToolsGardeners will, or course, require certain tools and containers in order to set up their gardens. But that does not mean that they have to buy new. Many tools and containers can be obtained second hand – sometimes even for free. You may also be able to share tools with others in your community.


By using second hand tools, we can reduce the carbon cost of making new tools in the first place. Second hand tools can often be sourced from friends or family, neighbours, or others in our communities. They can also be sourced online from auction sites or sites like Freecycle or Freegle.


Selecting New Tools


Wooden handled toolsWhen it comes to choosing tools, selecting tools with wooden rather than plastic handles can help, as wood will rot down, while plastic can remain to pollute our natural environments, often ending up in landfill.


Another benefit of finding and using traditional wooden handled tools is that these will be easier to repair in future. If wooden handles break, these are relatively easy to replace – you may even be able to do so using wood from your garden.


Learning some basic DIY skills and learning how to maintain and repair your tools will help you to prolong their useful lives and prevent them from ending up as waste.


Recycled spade heads artRecycling Old Tools


Living a zero waste lifestyle is also about considering what will happen to the items we own when they reach the end of their useful lives. Many tools will eventually break. But wooden handles will simply rot down over time, and will not pose a waste problem. Metal tools will last a long time if cared for properly, but metal components can often be recycled at the end of their lives – unlike many plastics and composite materials. You may even be able to replace wooden handles and rejoin metal pieces to new handles. Even when this is not possible, metal components may be able to have a second life in your garden – for example, the head of a spade could become a bed marker, or be used as a mini shelf to support plants in a vertical garden. They could also be used in garden art installations.

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