Recorder – Dory: Going electric for lawn care is a powerful step

Recorder – Dory: Going electric for lawn care is a powerful step

This summer, our family’s gasoline-powered lawn mower, which came with the house when we bought it 12 years ago, finally got the dust. After taking it to Boyden & Perron as well as our local small engine repair guy, it became clear it was time to replace it.

We decided that to protect our family and neighbors from the noise and pollution caused by gas-powered equipment, our next lawn mower would be electric. With discounts coming our way, we purchased our first electric mower.

A few things surprised me when we took the mower for its first spin around the yard. The first was ease of use. A simple push of a button replaces the pull of the ripcord of the lever. The quiet hum of the electric motor replaces the deafening roar of the engine. Instead of nervously pouring fuel from the gas can into the tank, inevitably spilling some fuel, we pop the battery in and out of the charger.

The machine is quiet, light, and easy enough to operate that our 10-year-old son, who has asthma, is now part of the family mowing team. Although the new machine doesn’t have as much raw power as the fossil-fuel-powered mower it replaced, it does the job just fine, with much less noise and, more importantly, less damage to health and planetary warming. pollution.

Gas-powered lawn and garden equipment produces a surprisingly large amount of carbon emissions. Going electric is another way we can help tackle the climate crisis.

How harmful is gas-powered garden equipment to our health? The gasoline engines found in many leaf blowers, snow blowers, and lawn mowers emit far more health-threatening pollution than conventional cars.

According to US EPA data, in Massachusetts in 2020, fossil fuel-powered lawn equipment emitted:

■More than 500 tons of fine particles and pollutants linked to respiratory diseases, reproductive and mental health issues, and even premature death. Massachusetts lawn care equipment releases as much particulate pollution as more than five million regular cars annually.

■More than 1,500 tons of nitrogen oxides, which cause asthma attacks and contribute to premature death. Annual nitrogen oxide emissions from lawn equipment in Massachusetts are equivalent to those of nearly 700,000 typical vehicles.

■A wide range of carcinogenic chemicals, including benzene and formaldehyde.

Why is electric garden equipment a better choice?

Electric lawn equipment is cleaner, quieter, and often cheaper over its lifespan. It emits fewer chemicals and vibrates less, making it healthier and safer to use.

While electric lawn equipment sometimes has a higher initial price, mostly due to the cost of the battery, they often save money over time due to lower fuel and maintenance costs.

Furthermore, electric options are often just as efficient as fossil fuel versions. Today, more and more commercial lawn care companies are taking advantage of the growing array of electrical equipment options.

“These days, battery-powered tools have a lot of power to get the job done, and our costs are very high,” said Kelly Giard, CEO of Clean Air Lawn Care, which has a franchise in Northampton at a recent news conference for state lawmakers. Less over five years than if we were using gas. I hope others will join us in using cleaner, quieter equipment.

Other local options for all-electric lawn care services include Electrocut Lawn Care and EcoValley Lawn Care.

Tips on how to support families, cities and states in switching to electric garden equipment:

■Lead by example by adopting electric lawn equipment for their facilities.

■Create financial incentives to encourage the purchase of electric lawn equipment. The Mass Save program already incentivizes electric lawn and garden equipment. Our family was thrilled to receive a $75 discount on our electric lawn mower. Discounts apply to electric string trimmers, chainsaws and leaf blowers as well.

■Providing education, training and technical support opportunities to meet commercial landscaping needs.

■Consider policies to phase out sales of gasoline-powered garden equipment and/or restrict the use of noisier, more polluting equipment under certain conditions.

To clean our air and protect our health, it’s important to move away from dirty gas-powered lawn and garden equipment as soon as possible. As I’ve learned firsthand, using electricity is good for your family, your neighbors, and your planet.

Joanna Newman of Amherst has spent the past two decades working to protect air, water and open space, advocate for consumers in the marketplace and promote a more sustainable economy and democratic society. She can be reached at

(marks for translation) Amherst columns MA

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