When Should You Repair, Replace or Recycle Your Gardening Tools?

With spring at last peeking its head out from under the horizon, many of us green-fingered folk are excited to get back out into the garden. But every first trip outside involves that spooky venture into the dark, damp depths of the garden shed – and bated breath as we find out whether our tools have survived the winter. If you’re relatively new to gardening, and encounter issues with your equipment, you might find yourself with something of a conundrum at hand; repair, replace or recycle?


Whether or not to attempt a gardening tool repair is the stickiest of decisions outlined here, owing in part to
the danger that certain repair attempts can introduce. Simple hand tools may be re-conditioned and repaired
with relative ease, given some working experience with wood or metal; in some cases, a spot of WD40 is all
you need to bring a rusty pair of secateurs back to life.

More complex and mechanised tools are a different story, though. You may need expertise in electronics or
engineering to bring bigger motorised things back to life. Cost is also a key factor, as we are about to discover.


Replacing a tool can feel like a wasteful thing, but in some cases the option is undeniably the best route to
take. Where it would cost more to purchase the materials necessary to effect repairs than it would to outright
buy a new item. This may well be the case for old and failing tools and equipment; rather than wasting time
and effort repairing old work gloves, re-investing in a high-quality pair can serve you much better.

The other part of the equation is the risk attributed to repair. Hiring a specialist repairman to fix your chainsaw
or lawnmower could cause costs to balloon over simply stumping up for a new one altogether. As for repair,
no real cost can be attributed to serious injury as a result of tinkering with mechanisms beyond your


Recycling is an option somewhat independent to the above, being essentially part of a decision between
throwing away, attempting to sell or finding new uses for your old equipment. Local organisations might
benefit from receiving older and broken garden tools, whether to directly supplement community gardening
programmes or provide repair projects for other community endeavours. In a more conventional sense, old
and decrepit hand tools are easily recyclable at a local tip.

General Care Tips

Of course, the above questions can be avoided altogether with a smart approach to tool and equipment care.
Rather than leaving tools loose in a shed to moulder and weather, storing your equipment properly can help
reduce the likelihood of rust and corrosion. The regular oiling of tools and motorised equipment can also
extend their life in the off-seasons.