What to Do with Old Garden Tools: A Comprehensive Guide

As gardening enthusiasts, we often accumulate a collection of old garden tools over time. These tools may have served us well in the past, but as they age and wear out, we are left wondering what to do with them. Instead of letting them gather dust in the corner of your shed or throwing them away, there are several creative and sustainable options for repurposing or recycling old garden tools. In this article, we will explore various ways to give new life to your old garden tools, reducing waste and benefiting both the environment and your gardening endeavors.

1. Donate to Community Gardens or Schools

One of the best ways to repurpose your old garden tools is by donating them to community gardens or schools. These organizations often rely on donations to provide tools for their gardening projects, especially in underserved areas where resources may be limited. By donating your old tools, you can help support these initiatives and enable others to discover the joys of gardening.

According to a study conducted by the National Gardening Association, community gardens have been on the rise in recent years, with an estimated 18% increase in the number of gardens across the United States since 2014. These gardens not only provide fresh produce to local communities but also serve as educational spaces for children and adults alike.

When donating your old garden tools, make sure they are in good working condition. Clean them thoroughly and check for any necessary repairs. If possible, include a brief note or manual on how to use the tools effectively. This will ensure that your donation is valuable and appreciated by the recipients.

2. Repurpose for Art and Decor

Old garden tools can be transformed into unique pieces of art or decorative items for your garden or home. With a little creativity, you can give your old tools a new purpose and add a touch of whimsy to your surroundings.

For example, old shovels or rakes can be repurposed as wall hooks to hang coats or gardening tools. Simply attach them securely to a wall or fence, and you have a functional and visually appealing storage solution. Alternatively, you can turn old garden tools into sculptures or garden ornaments by arranging them in interesting patterns or shapes.

According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, 89% of respondents believe that well-designed landscapes can positively impact their overall quality of life. By repurposing your old garden tools into art or decor, you can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your garden while reducing waste.

3. Sell or Trade-In

If your old garden tools are still in good condition and can be used by others, consider selling or trading them in. Online marketplaces and gardening forums provide platforms for buying and selling used tools, allowing you to recoup some of your investment and pass on your tools to someone who will appreciate them.

According to a report by Statista, the global online marketplace revenue is projected to reach $4.8 trillion by 2021. This indicates the growing popularity of online platforms for buying and selling various goods, including garden tools.

Before selling or trading in your old tools, clean them thoroughly and make any necessary repairs. Take clear and detailed photos to showcase the condition of the tools. Research the market value of similar tools to ensure you are pricing them competitively. Additionally, consider offering a warranty or guarantee to attract potential buyers.

4. Recycle for Metal or Wood

If your old garden tools are beyond repair or repurposing, recycling them is a responsible and environmentally friendly option. Many recycling centers accept metal and wood materials, which are commonly found in garden tools.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling one ton of steel can save 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone. By recycling your old metal garden tools, you can contribute to the conservation of natural resources and reduce the energy required for new tool production.

Wooden garden tools can also be recycled or repurposed. Some recycling centers accept wood for chipping or composting, while others may have specific guidelines for accepting wooden items. Check with your local recycling center to determine the best way to dispose of your old wooden garden tools.

5. Create a Tool Library

Another innovative way to repurpose your old garden tools is by creating a tool library in your community. A tool library is a shared resource where community members can borrow tools for their gardening or home improvement projects.

According to a study conducted by Shareable, there are over 100 tool libraries in the United States alone. These libraries not only provide access to tools for those who cannot afford to buy them but also promote a sense of community and collaboration.

To start a tool library, gather your old garden tools and any other tools you are willing to share. Clean and organize them, and create a system for borrowing and returning the tools. You can set up a physical space or use an online platform to manage the tool library. Advertise your tool library in local community centers, social media groups, and gardening forums to attract members.


Q: Can I recycle plastic garden tools?

A: Yes, plastic garden tools can often be recycled. Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept plastic items. If they do, make sure to clean the tools thoroughly and remove any non-recyclable parts, such as rubber handles or metal components.

Q: Are there any organizations that accept old garden tools for refurbishment?

A: Yes, there are several organizations that accept old garden tools for refurbishment. Tools for Self-Reliance is one such organization that collects old tools, refurbishes them, and sends them to communities in need in Africa. Check their website or local community organizations to find out more about donation opportunities.

Q: How can I repurpose broken garden tools?

A: Broken garden tools can still be repurposed in creative ways. For example, broken wooden handles can be used as stakes for supporting plants, while broken metal tools can be turned into garden sculptures or decorative pieces. Let your imagination guide you and think outside the box when repurposing broken tools.


When faced with old garden tools, it is important to consider sustainable options for their disposal. By donating to community gardens or schools, repurposing for art and decor, selling or trading-in, recycling for metal or wood, or creating a tool library, you can give new life to your old tools and contribute to a more sustainable gardening community.

Remember, the choices we make in disposing of our old garden tools can have a significant impact on the environment and future generations. So, let’s embrace creativity and sustainability as we find new ways to repurpose and recycle our old garden tools.

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