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Your Yard and Clean Air

Small Engine Garden Tools are Big Polluters - Most people do not associate air pollution with mowing the lawn. Yet emissions from lawn mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, leaf vacuums, and similar outdoor power equipment are a significant source of pollution.

Today's small engines emit high levels of carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. They also emit hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, pollutants that contribute to the formation of ozone. Emission controls for small gasoline engines has not been a crucial design consideration until now. Small engines are big polluters and power equipment users inadvertently contribute to the problem by carelessly handling fuel and improperly maintaining their equipment.

Pollution Prevention in Your Own Backyard- EPA anticipates that new regulations now being developed will bring cleaner lawn and garden equipment to market within a few years. Meanwhile, consumers can make a difference by adopting practices that will help protect the environment now and in the future:

  • Consider cleaner manual and battery powered options.
  • Propane and solar options are also available for some types of equipment. Electric and battery powered equipment is cleaner than equipment powered by gasoline engines. Electrically-powered lawn and garden tools produce essentially no pollution from exhaust emissions or through fuel evaporation.

  • Use manual hand powered tools
  • Tools that don't require electric or gasoline engines are especially handy for small yards or small jobs. Hand tools are available to meet a wide variety of lawn and garden needs, like lightweight, quiet, easy-to-use reel push mowers that generate no emissions.

  • Reduce mowing pollution
  • Use low-maintenance turf grasses or grass/flower seed mixtures that grow slowly and require less mowing. Check with your local agricultural extension service or lawn and garden center about what is appropriate for your region. Decrease lawn mower noise and air pollution with a battery power mower or choose from a large selection of robotic battery powered mowers. Plant additional trees and shrubs to reduce the energy costs of heating and cooling your house and to provide landscaping for wildlife. Native wildflowers and plants require little to no maintenance after planting.

  • Recycle old equipment
  • Instead of selling or giving away your old lawn and garden power tools, take them to a recycling center where they can be converted into raw material for use in cleaner equipment and other products.

By combining these strategies, you can reduce your personal contribution to pollution. In addition, your yard equipment will last longer and you will save money.