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reel_mower(MCT)—The sounds of spring are most definitely here. You know, the loud buzz of the lawn mowers, the piercing sound of leaf blowers, the incessant whir of the trimmers. Not only is there the noise pollution to contend with, there is also the air, land, and water pollution that comes with gas powered lawn equipment. This summer, Do Your Part to pick smarter equipment that will not only cut down pollution but will cut down on your lawn maintenance costs.

Let’s start with what really gets under my skin. The loud noise of gas powered lawn equipment. The National Pollution Clearinghouse contends that an ordinary gas fueled lawn mower can actually be heard at least a quarter mile away. Then, there are the other pollution concerns. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 17 million gallons of fuel and oil are accidentally spilled while servicing all this lawn equipment. That’s right — 17 million gallons! And, here’s another startling statistic for you; gas powered lawn equipment produces roughly five percent of the air pollution generated in America. The exhaust from the gas-powered equipment sends tiny particles into the air, quickly creating unhealthy conditions. The fumes from the engines also add to the creation of ground level ozone and smog. To help put those numbers into perspective, think of it this way. A gas-powered lawn mower emits as much pollution each hour as 11 cars on the road.

The good news is that there are better (and quieter) options out there. The cleanest option is to use human powered equipment. Reel mowers are ideal for small lawns. There are many different styles too including some which have an attachment to catch grass clippings. You can also do what I do, which is to go electric.

Electric mowers win hands down when it comes to convenience. They start with the push of a button and you never need to fill up the gas tank or replace the oil. The electric mower is lighter than its gas-powered alternative and it’s much quieter too! Now, electric mowers do generate pollution but at drastically lower levels and not in your backyard. They are also more expensive than their gas-powered cousins but they are a lot less expensive to operate and maintain. An electric mower will cost you about $5 a year to operate, which is the cost of electricity to power or charge the mower. If you opt for the more convenient cordless electric mower then you should know that the rechargeable battery contains lead and should never end up in a landfill. Fortunately, there are many resources available for recycling rechargeable batteries of all shapes and sizes. You can also find electric blowers, trimmers, tillers and more. Some states offer incentives for purchasing electric equipment so be sure to check.

When it comes picking out your next piece of lawn equipment, Do Your Part and make an economical and eco-friendly choice. It’s a whole lot better for you, your neighbors, and the planet.

Terri Bennett is a national speaker, eco-expert, and author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living” available at

Distributed by MCT Information Services.