This Saturday! Get a Clean New Mower, Prevent Ozone

We all know about emissions from driving our cars, but we sometimes overlook small-motor emissions. Small-engine equipment must comply with a different set of emissions requirements than vehicles; they are  allowed to pollute more than many of the cars we drive. In fact, if you have an old pre-1995 mower, these machines are from the wild west of small engines and didn't have to meet any emissions requirements at all. Gas-powered mowers produce the same types of pollutants as gas-powered vehicles, many of which (nitrous oxides and volatile organic carbons) contribute to low-level ozone formation.

To help keep our ozone levels low this summer, the Department of Environmental Quality is sponsoring a lawnmower exchange this weekend for Oklahoma City residents and offering a $100 rebate towards the purchase of a brand new electric lawnmower.

If you are married to your gasoline-powered lawnmower or miss your opportunity to grab this rebate, you can still help prevent ozone formation by choosing to mow only when your yard really needs it and by mowing either early or late in the day. If you mow during these time periods, the emissions are less likely to react in the sunlight and create ozone.

My husband and I take lawn care one step cleaner and use a manual muscle-powered reel mower on our yard. I like that I don't have to worry about cutting my foot off or maintaining machinery. He likes that it is lighter weight and we don't have to buy fuel. Our lawn is healthier because we let the clippings compost back into the earth. Our neighboors stop in the street to talk when they see us using it - they tell us how they used to have a mower like this when they were a kid, or how well they think it works, or that they have one sitting in their garage that they never use. One person was surprised you could still buy a manual push-mower! (It was at the hardware store - they're still there.)

The right choice for the hubby and I might not be the right choice for you, but so long as you know the options and how your choice of mower affects your lawn, the air you breathe, and your community, you'll be ahead of the game!  I hope you're all able to snag one of the available rebates if a new electric mower is your cup of tea.

  • For an ABC story on lawnmower emissions, click here.
  • For a National Geographic environmental impact guide to lawn mowers, click here.
  • To read EPA's regulations on lawn equipment emissions, click here.
  • To view Oklahoma's monitored Ozone values for the past year, click here.

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