Just in time for autumn, a guide to what you need to know, about the most polluting form of machinery still in legal use in the US. Fortunately, it won't be for long.
Thank you for an interesting article, I just joined this is my first post.
What I think is important about a forum like this is *the actions* it inspires. Information without follow on is just data, but a lot of folks taking small steps can really shape trends. From this article I learned leaf blowers are more destructive to the environment than cars. That makes me want to make a positive change.
I am fortunate enough to have a gardener. But shortly he and his crew will no longer be using 2-cycle gas operated equipment on my yard as a condition of service. I will have a discussion with him about alternatives and I will fund a battery-based equipment upgrade including a portable charging solution that will work from his truck.
But one thing is clear from looking into this, there are very few capable (professional quality, durable, long run time) battery-operated landscaping equipment providers out there. None of the spec's I can find come close to matching gas powered alternatives.
I think until there are some solutions that match existing products (performance, reliability, durability), even if they are more expensive, there will be a lot of push back about moving this industry into a more green posture.
Thank you Jim, for your continued work. The Pensacola Environmental Advisory Board discussed the issue tonight, and is now working to advise the City Council how to proceed with establishing reasonable rules (we hope). One Board Member reached out to a large landscape company owner who contributes to an inordinate amount of neighborhood cacophony with 2-stroke blowers and trimmers, and said residents can either have leaf blower noise or generator noise ... a 'heads I win tails you lose' mentality that disrespects neighborhoods and our right to enjoy the quiet of our own homes.
Not long ago, four gas leaf blowers operated next door by commercial landscapers registered 79 decibels at the property line and 75 decibels at my son’s bedroom window. They went on for hours, and there was not a spec on the lawn afterward. But if an airplane takes off from Reagan airport and triggers a noise device at 72 decibels, the noise is deemed a violation and the airline can be cited and fined (DCA Jeppesen Chart 10-4A). Think about that … landscapers creating neighborhood noise louder than an airport.
Kudos, Jim, for your efforts in this realm, but here's the item I saw earlier tody that got me started on a more elaborate comment:
'Are leaf blowers bad for us?' » Yale Climate Connections
Since it does reference your contributions to the cause, I hope the source is not an irritation (I think they still believe in science in New Haven...); however, I am guessing your alma mater published this before your first public writings on the subject:
All that said, I am sad to say that the towns in Central Massachusetts are too conservative to embrace this goals, and it's an equally difficult suggestion to get considered by our HOA, but now I'm wondering if this company that I just found in Concord, https://www.ecoquietlawncare.com/, could make a case to local landscapers.
You don't mention the other biggest source of two-stroke engine pollution -- outboard motors on small boats -- which California regulators started tackling in 2001.
What you have never (to my knowledge) acknowledged is that until the last couple or three years electric powered leaf blowers were so weak as to be essentially unusable even for non-commercial uses. I had one (Black & Decker) for several years. I would rate it as marginal for blowing grass clippings off the driveway. For anything more like actual “leaf blowing” it was useless. Battery powered models are finally a viable option but you can’t blame people who do this for a living for not converting sooner. It was gas powered blowers or brooms and rakes.
Well done! Jim and Debbie!