Gas lawn mowers & leaf blowers are bad for the planet, bans are starting to spread
The next climate change battleground could be on your lawn. Parks, too. and play areas.
In an effort to slow climate change, regulators and proponents of clean air are paying more attention to the pollution that tiny gasoline engines like lawnmowers and leaf blowers create. Using a commercial gas leaf blower for one hour, according to environmentalists, results in emissions equivalent to traveling from Denver to Los Angeles.
California, Burlington, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Vancouver, British Columbia are among the states and cities with bans or restrictions.
Experts claim that these small, two-stroke engines produce astonishingly enormous amounts of pollutants, which solves two issues that current, increasingly affordable electric-powered machinery faces. Many detractors initially lambasted the small engines for the noise they generate.
In Washington, the lack of obtrusive leaf blowers is already noticeable. “Everywhere you went, you used to hear them all day long. And now you don’t,” declared Susan Orlins, a key player in the district’s strictest gas lawn leaf blower ban in the country’s history.
Which states and communities have taken action to outlaw gas lawn equipment?
The engines, which are officially referred to as “small off-road engines,” or SOREs, have previously been banned to the greatest extent in California. The sale of new tiny petrol engines is outlawed by California’s legislation, which begins to take effect next year. The ones they now possess can be used indefinitely, and worn ones can be sold.
A considerably stronger prohibition is in place in Washington, D.C., which will prohibit the use of gas lawn leaf blowers by anybody inside the district as of January 1, 2022, and will punish violators $500 unless they are doing so on federal property. Anyone who hears or sees a gas-powered leaf blower is also permitted to report it under the ban; no city inspector is required to be present.
Regulators in the Denver area are thinking about imposing limitations that mostly apply to large commercial and municipal users but grant exemptions to homes. The Denver metro area’s ban aims to lessen ozone pollution, which impairs breathing and fuels climate change.
Residential retail is already reacting, and the majority of big-box and hardware stores already sell electric equipment.
According to Daniel Mabe, founder, and president of the American Green Zone Alliance, “It will be all-electric, all day long, for the majority of residents who own single-family homes.” While advising businesses and governments on the best practices to follow when switching to electric equipment, AGZA does not support any bans or restrictions.
Why is gas lawn equipment prohibited?
According to experts, lawn and garden equipment accounts for around 85% of all SOREs currently in use in the country, and these engines are frequently produced without the emission controls employed on automobiles.
Small engines are almost universally two-stroke, which burn a dirtier fuel mixture than automobiles. Supporters claim that in addition to the engines’ emissions that contribute to global warming, workers are also directly exposed to their exhaust and infrequently wear filters to protect their lungs.
People around them frequently complain about the noise they make, especially in suburban areas where so many people now work from home.
According to the California-based organization San Diegans for Sustainable, Equitable & Quiet Equipment in Landscaping, switching to battery-powered landscaping equipment is a more environmentally friendly option that would help us get closer to achieving our climate action goals and minimize negative health effects.
What are the drawbacks of electric lawn furniture?
Critics assert that gas-powered machines are stronger than battery-powered ones, and some individuals worry about having to purchase new, generally more expensive equipment.
According to Mabe, the essential gas-powered equipment for someone establishing a small landscaping firm could cost around $6,000, but the identical electric equipment could cost up to three times as much.
He continues by saying that businesses moving to electrics may need to enhance their energy service to handle nighttime charging demand and would need extra room to store and charge batteries.
As more states and cities enact similar restrictions, supporters claim that having a large state like California switch to electric equipment will create a market that international manufacturers can count on, lowering prices overall. California offers rewards to small businesses that switch from gas to electric electricity, much as the District of Columbia.
What if I want to continue using my gas leaf blower or lawnmower?
The majority of current ideas would only prohibit the purchase of new gas-powered machinery, enabling people to continue utilizing their current possessions.
However, proponents of clean air argue that as the United States works to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollution, a shift to electric equipment is unavoidable. Orlins claimed that she gave her lawn care crews a financial loan so they could upgrade to battery-operated equipment.
We all feel so happy that we made the decision to take the first step, she continued.
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