Why You Should Ditch Your Leaf Blower

Odds are, if you live in a semi-suburban neighborhood, you know someone who owns a leaf blower. And, as it is already peak leaf blower season in the northern US, you’re probably dealing with the noisy ramifications of that right now. Or maybe you have a leaf blower yourself, in which case you should consider ditching these noisy, carbon-spewing machines in favor of greener, healthier landscaping options.

They are pollution machines.

What’s the big deal with leaf blowers? Leaf blowers create significant air and noise pollution. Especially those with two-stroke, gasoline powered motors.

Leaf Blowers and Air Pollution

“Simplest benchmark: running a leaf blower for 30 minutes creates more emissions than driving a F-150 pickup truck 3800 miles,” according to environmental writer and leaf blower-hater James Fallows. “About one-third of the gasoline that goes into this sort of engine is spewed out, unburned, in an aerosol mixed with oil in the exhaust.”

Think about that for a second. Drive all the way across the country and halfway back in a pickup truck—or run a leaf blower for 30 minutes. That’s the carbon emission equivalent to leaf blowing your yard once a week. Does that really seem worth it, especially with the frightening state of our planet’s changing climate?

It’s not just CO2 leaching out of your leaf blower’s fumes—it’s carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and hydrocarbons escaping from the engine in very significant quantities. We all know about the dangers of carbon monoxide, but hydrocarbons are highly carcinogenic, and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere causes acid rain. It’s a environmentally disgusting trio.

Leaf Blowers and Noise Pollution

Noise pollution may be less of an issue for you, but it is still a major nuisance. At full power, a gas-powered leaf blower can reach 100 decibels for the user. Ear protection is recommended for anything above 85.

And since noise is proven to be more irritating to bystanders than its creator, that loud noise carries for several hundred feet in every direction, hurting ears and disturbing neighbors indiscriminately.

Why You Should Ditch Your Leaf Blower this Fall

They harm human health.

The gasoline emissions, along with the other potentially carcinogenic or harmful particles they throw up into the air, are horrible for human health, too. Leaf blowers not only push CO2 into the air you and your neighbors breathe—which is bad news for those with respiratory conditions—but they can push heavy metals, allergens, and bacteria up from the ground into the air. Do you really want that kind of stuff ruining the air quality in your neighborhood?

They make you a horrible neighbor.

Have a neighbor with a leaf blower? Ever notice where all those leaves go? Exactly. On your lawn! Leaf blowers just move the problem from one place to another (unless you actually make an effort to remove the leaves and compost them).

Don’t be the noisy, polluting neighbor who pushes all the leaves from your yard into the road and onto neighboring properties. It’s not cool.

Leaf Blower Alternatives

How can you replace your dirty leaf blower? It’s not rocket science. Rakes were some of the earliest tools invented to clean up leaves, and they are still the greenest. If you have a reasonably-sized yard, just use a rake. You could probably use the light physical activity.

If, for some reason, you absolutely need to clear your massive yard of all leaf matter, opt for a leaf vacuum. These are less noisy, far less polluting, and allow you to collect leaves to be composted—rather than just blowing them away to become someone else’s problem.

The moral of the story is, if you care about the environmental and health consequences of car exhaust, you should be doubly concerned about leaf blowers.

How do you feel about leaf blowers? Love them? Hate them? Share your thoughts with the Care2 community in the comments section below.

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126 comments

danii p
danii p3 days ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p3 days ago

Thank you

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Leo C
Leo C4 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Pietro M
Pietro Maiorana5 days ago

E' uno strumento inutile, le foglie vanno raccolte e non spazzate

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candy peters
candy peters6 days ago

pick up a rake instead and get a little exercise while enjoying the fresh air !

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danii p
danii p13 days ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p13 days ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p13 days ago

Thank you

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Marija M
Marija Mohoric18 days ago

tks

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Shae L
Shae Lee19 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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