Emily Charles-Donleson

Business: Toronto Tool Library & Sharing Depot


As part of the Live Green Perks Digital Residency, we’re profiling owners of participating businesses in the Live Green Perks program. Find out about eco-friendly products and services you can use in order to make a difference. 

Why should a consumer choose your products or services over a mainstream/non-green option?

Borrowing from a library of things is a convenient way to get access to the things you need without the price tag or the clutter, all while lessening your environmental footprint. To use a drill as an example, according to research into tool use, the average drill is used for just 13 minutes in its useable lifespan. The rest of the time, it sits depreciating in basements, garages or storage units. When we think about the rare earth minerals, materials and other resources that get used up in the process of making and distributing that drill, it seems like a colossal waste to have every house on the block or unit in a building storing a drill that is only needed for occasional use. Not to mention the waste of money and space in our homes involved in purchasing and storing such items. The Toronto Tool Library & Sharing Depot frees people from having to purchase things to own and instead gives them access to tools, camping gear, board games, event supplies, children’s toys and sports equipment when they need them. We handle the storage and the maintenance of the inventory so people can focus on experiences rather than stuff. People borrow from our library because they want to live in a clutter-free home, they want to save money, they want to support their community, and they want to ensure a planet for future generations to come. The revolution will not be bought, it will be borrowed.

What are the most popular eco-friendly gifts people can buy from your shop?

People can purchase a membership for friends and family to the Toronto Tool Library & Sharing Depot, encouraging them to shift their behaviour away from the consumption of new products towards sharing as a community. Workshops taught in our Makerspace can also be purchased as gifts and many of these revolve around upcycling materials and zero waste alternatives to disposable products. Another popular gift item is to purchase time with one of our expert ‘Tool Ninjas’ who will do one-on-one training in tool use or walk someone through building a project.

Why is being green important to you?

As a culture, we are becoming increasingly aware that the individual consumption of products connected to the infinite growth model of economics is at the heart of many of our environmental issues. Recent research has suggested that household consumption is responsible for 60 to 80 per cent of the impacts on our planet. Do we really need to own all the things we buy, or is there a way to share stuff we only need access to occasionally as a community? Do we really need the stuff or the use of the stuff? The Toronto Tool Library & Sharing Depot is our solution to those questions. Now with three locations around the city, we launched our lending libraries as an opportunity to reimagine our relationship with the things we use. By borrowing instead of buying, people are changing their behaviour around the consumption of products, simultaneously saving money and lessening their environmental footprint. Why buy tools, camping gear, board games, children’s toys, event supplies and sports equipment you will only use occasionally when you can share it all together as a community through the Toronto Tool Library & Sharing Depot? We launched these lending libraries as a way to help people understand: I do not need a drill, I need a hole in the wall. Experiences > stuff.

What does your business offer as a Live Green Perk?

10 per cent off Toronto Tool Library & Sharing Depot membership fee, $100 Makerspace initiation fee.


Visit the NOW Digital Residency: Live Green Perks

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