8 things you can do with old or broken tools
Do-it-yourselfers and professionals love their tools, but they’re also acutely aware of this harsh reality: they don’t last forever. Whether a tool gets old or of poor quality, becomes obsolete and needs upgrading, or sits unused since that one-time project 3 years ago, keeping those old and broken tools around can clutter up a workshop.
However, old or broken tools can’t just be thrown in the trash or trash, and it’s important to know how to dispose of them safely. Here are some tips on what to do with those outdated or obsolete tools in your workshop.
Try a local landfill and recycling center.
Most garbage collection companies do not accept power tools left in curbside recycling bins, but many garbage and recycling agencies that accept household appliances also accept power tools for a fee. This method can get expensive quickly, but in some areas it may be the only viable option for large power tools that are past their prime.
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Give them to a friend.
Homeowners who have old working tools that are no longer very useful might try giving them to family or friends. There are many DIYers whose budgets prevent them from buying new tools, so the gift would be appreciated. If there’s a youngster in the neighborhood who always seems to help out, a box of old tools just might help them start a part-time handyman job.
If giving older tools to people you know isn’t an option, there are plenty of nonprofit organizations that might accept them. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, and some churches are happy to take donated tools, sell them, and then use the proceeds to fund their housing projects and food banks. These organizations can also provide receipts, as these donations are tax deductible.
Help store a library of tools.
Just like a regular library, tool libraries allow members to view, use, and return tools. Donating tools to one of these organizations can allow someone who can’t afford to use some of the best tools. Do a quick Internet search to find tool libraries in your area.
Contact the manufacturer.
Many tool manufacturers accept old or broken power tools that customers drop off at authorized dealers. DeWalt, Bosch, Festool, Black and Decker and many other brands collect these tools, dismantle them and recycle them for free. This may be a better option than paying to have them recycled at a local recycling center.
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Consider a garage sale or a classified site.
There’s nothing wrong with turning those old tools into a bit of cash (which many DIYers will likely bring to the hardware store for new tools or supplies). Holding a garage sale in the spring and summer could pull some of these still functional tools off the shelves in the garage.
Or, listing a few items on a site like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace can serve the same purpose. The buyer gets a good deal on a tool they need, and the seller gets extra money for their next trip to the tool dealer.
Point: Do a little research before selling hand tools online. Some older tools can be antiques and worth staggering sums to the right buyer.
Don’t forget about upcycling.
Breathing new life into an old tool can mean completely changing its purpose. Old tools can become wonderful wall or desk decorations for anyone who loves an industrial or rustic look. Some craftsmen like to turn old saw blades into knives. Hammer heads can make handy door stops or door knockers. With a little creativity, old tools can live on with new purpose.
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Consider disposing of broken tools.
When all else fails, there is always the breakage. For broken metal tools, taking them to the junkyard might earn a small return. Scrapyards pay by weight for metal, whether it comes from a tool, pipe, or wire. A bucket full of broken screwdrivers, broken drill bits, hammer heads and bent saw blades can weigh a few pounds and become a small day’s pay.