Electric is an eco friendly option

Electric lawn mowers, trimmers, and shredders are an eco-friendly way to make your lawn green. Unlike gasoline powered tools, they emit no pollutants or unpleasant fumes. They also cause fewer emissions at the power plant due to efficiencies of scale. A single, large generator is cleaner than hundreds of small lawn mower engines. Many power plants are also outfitted with high-tech scrubbers that clean their emissions before releasing them into the air. Power plants can be big polluters, but even the dirtiest coal power plants have a smaller footprint than a thousand lawn mowers. Carrying coal 50 miles to a power plant using a high-efficiency train produces far less pollution than transporting gasoline 6,000 miles on an oil tanker. Oil tankers are often powered by bunker fuel – a nasty fuel supply with heavy sulfur contamination.

It’s amazing how dirty lawn mowers are. A conventional lawn mower pollutes more than a racecar engine! An average push mower emits as much hourly pollution as 11 average cars and a riding mower emits as much as 34 cars. Since many small engines are built to minimize weight, they have few emission controls. Even the most inefficient SUVs are required to have catalytic converters, but those converters are unheard of in lawnmowers. Some mowers also save on weight by eliminating cooling components – this causes the engine to run hot and produce higher emissions, while also wearing out components quickly and causing even more waste. One of the worst types of gasoline engine is a two-stroke engine. These require a blend of gasoline and motor oil to run smoothly – and the oil is simply burned along with the gasoline.

Many of the pollutants produced by yard tools end up in the soil or are inhaled by people working on their landscaping. Obviously, that’s not the best way to enjoy a garden! The EPA estimates that 17 million gallons of gas is spelled each year by Americans gassing up their mowers. That’s more oil than the Exxon Valdez spilled. Even the gas that makes it into the tank can end up back on the yard – gasoline engines emit Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxide, partially burnt Hydrocarbons, and a variety of nasty particulates, such as sulfur and heavy metal compounds. Each gallon of gas produces approximately 0.175 pounds of emissions while an automobile converts a gallon of gasoline into approximately 0.015 pounds of pollution. That waste is about 80% CO2 and Carbon Monoxide, more than 15% Hydrocarbons, and about 5% NOx. These chemicals are toxic to plants and animals alike. Breathing them in can trigger asthma attacks, cause headaches, and even induce comas. Repeated exposure damages lung tissue and can cause cancer.

Keeping emissions out of your yard is a healthy choice for both your family and your plants. Pets and small children are especially sensitive to chemical residue – they spend more time in contact with the ground and have lower tolerances due to their small body size. Vegetables contaminated by hydrocarbon residue tend to be smaller, less resistant to disease, and less flavorful. With electric garden tools, you don’t have to worry about any of that, because there are no emissions! If you have solar panels on your house, or otherwise use green power, there are no emissions at all. If you decide to go electric, the next step is to choose between tools that run off of outlet power or rechargeable batteries.

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