State Director, Environment Georgia
State Director, Environment Georgia
New report shows shocking amount of pollution from gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers in Georgia
Electric lawn/garden alternatives are cleaner, quieter, capable, affordable, readily available
Avondale Estates– With fall in the air and leaf blowers at full blast in neighborhoods across the state, noise and gas fumes are filling the air. Lawn Care Goes Electric: Why it’s time to switch to a new generation of clean, quiet electric lawn equipment, a new report by Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center, shows that gas-powered lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaws and other garden equipment generate a large amount of pollution and noise. According to the report’s analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, lawn and garden equipment in Georgia emitted an estimated 864 tons of harmful “fine particulate” air pollution in 2020 – an amount equivalent to the pollution emitted by 9.2 million typical cars over the course of a year.
For all the air pollution components tracked, Georgia ranked in the top 10 amongst states. Four Georgia Counties (Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton) ranked in the top 10 for pollution emissions.
“It’s absurd that we have been tolerating so much harmful pollution and noise just to cut grass and maintain landscapes,” said Jennette Gayer, director with Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center. “The good news is, cleaner, quieter electric-powered lawn equipment is capable, affordable and readily available.”
All this unnecessary pollution imposes a significant health cost. The pollutants emitted by gas-powered lawn equipment include fine particulates (PM2.5), ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and air toxics such as benzene, 1,3-butadiene and formaldehyde. Exposure to these pollutants in our air has been linked to health problems including asthma attacks, reproductive ailments, mental health challenges, cancer and even premature deaths. Because they burn fossil fuels, gas lawn mowers and leaf blowers also emit carbon dioxide, the leading contributor to climate change.
“We use zero emissions, electric lawn equipment including mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, and more in our work because we care about air quality and the health of our communities and our planet,” said Shades of Green Permaculture Founder and CEO Brandy Hall. “These days, battery-powered tools have plenty of power to get the job done, and we power them through a solar charging station on our EcoLawns trailer. Not only do we keep our costs low, electric lawn equipment helps us better serve our mission to empower people to participate in the Earth’s return to health. I hope others will join us in using equipment that is cleaner and quieter — for employees, customers, and the planet.”
The report recommends that local and state governments use electric equipment on public property and provide financial incentives to encourage the widespread adoption of electric lawn equipment. It further suggests that cities and states consider restrictions on the sale and use of the most-polluting fossil fuel-powered equipment.
“No matter if you are a homeowner cleaning up your yard on the weekend or a landscaper using these tools all day, you should be able to, and want to, make the transition that benefits our earth and your health.” said DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry. “These tools are harming the environment we steward and affecting the health of those doing this valuable work. This is why I’m championing efforts that will assist with an equitable transition to electric lawn tools.”
“We have a chance to cut down on our air and noise pollution problem by switching to cleaner, quieter, readily available electric lawn equipment,” said Vicki Mann with Quiet Georgia. “We shouldn’t accept tons of air pollution and ear-splitting noise as an inevitable byproduct of taking care of our gardens and lawns, nor should it come at the expense of the landscape workers health that maintain them.”
The full report is available here, along with an interactive data tool and searchable map. County-by-county data from Georgia are here.