• Tech Tech

This household machine is a surprising source of dangerous air pollution — luckily one easy swap can fix it

While machines like cars are highly regulated and scrutinized, these machines are not.

While machines like cars are highly regulated and scrutinized, these machines are not.

Photo Credit: iStock

Gas-powered lawn mowers are a fairly common tool for homeowners looking to keep their yards neat and tidy — however, most people don't realize what an incredible amount of air pollution these devices create.

Why are gas-powered mowers bad for the planet?

While machines like cars are highly regulated and scrutinized, lawn mowers are not, meaning that the companies that create gas-powered lawn mowers have never been forced to improve their efficiency or limit the amount of pollution they produce.

As a result, the impact of gas-powered mowers and other yard equipment is staggering. Gas mowers release pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, creating ground-level ozone and smog, which can lead to respiratory issues. 

The mowers can release as much pollution in one hour as a car driven for 100 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA data has also shown that lawn mowers account for a whopping 5% of the total air pollution in the United States, and even more in denser urban areas.

In 2017, the California Air Resources Board warned that "by 2020, gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and similar equipment in the state could produce more ozone pollution than all the millions of cars in California combined."

In addition to the air pollution, gas mowers also create immense amounts of noise pollution, which is annoying to humans and legitimately disturbing to local wildlife.

And, of course, because they burn gasoline, the mowers contribute to the overheating of our planet by releasing carbon dioxide into the air.

What are the alternatives to gas-powered mowers?

Luckily, there are now several alternatives to traditional gas-powered mowers on the market. Multiple electric mowers exist — including various Kobalt models, the Ryobi electric lawn mower, and even robotic mowers.

Another good way to avoid using polluting yard equipment is not to have a lawn at all — increasingly, more and more homeowners are turning away from traditional grass lawns and toward things like native plant gardens

While grass lawns require excessive watering and mowing and also discourage local wildlife by depriving pollinators of food, native plant gardens are the exact opposite, working with nature instead of against it — and they are more beautiful and visually interesting than grass lawns, as well.

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