LiveGreen: Less is mower

by Tom Mason, College of Nursing | May 13, 2014

Image with file name: LiveGreenNew.jpg

Are you thinking about getting a new lawnmower? Do you want to be a better steward of our environment? Check out electric and push reel mowers.

An electric mower will manicure your lawn just as well as a gas mower. Better still, there are "green" benefits to choosing one of these mowers over a gas-powered machine.

No gas needed

Here are some reasons electric and push reel mowers are a sensible choice:

  • Easy to start (especially push reel mowers).
  • Lighter in weight.
  • Quieter.
  • No fumes or odors.
  • Store in any position-nothing spills.
  • Doesn't need winterizing.
  • No annual engine tune up needed.
  • No gas spillage.
  • No need to go somewhere to get fuel.
  • No air or sound pollution.
  • Healthier to operate.

Did you know that on any given summer weekend there can be 54 million gas-powered lawn mowers running? That's a lot of mowers, and according to the EPA, these mowers are consuming 800 million gallons of gasoline annually; 17 million gallons of which are spilled as people fill the tiny tanks. To put it in perspective, that is more oil than was spilled from the Exxon Valdez in Alaska's Prince William Sound.

When we consider air and noise pollution, electric and reel mowers have a substantial advantage over gas mowers. Emission standards for "outdoor equipment" are different from emission standards required for vehicles. After all, catalytic converters have been required in cars for years but are still not required for small gas-powered equipment. How about this for a difference -- running one gas powered mower for one hour emits the same amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides as eight new cars being driven at 55 m.p.h. for one hour. How huge is that carbon footprint? Yikes.

Want to help remove hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide from our air? Switch to an electric or reel mower, which will make a big difference. Some major cities have programs to trade electric mowers for residents' gas mowers, which are then recycled. The change from gas to electric is that important to a city's overall air quality.

As for noise pollution, the sound of one gas mower can cover around 100 acres of land. Not sure how big an acre is? A football field equals 1.1 acre. It doesn't make sense to create a lot of air and noise pollution in order to maintain one lawn. Help yourself, your neighborhood, and the environment and consider an electric or reel mower.


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May 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Holy cow...those mowers are expensive!!! You'd have to mow a lot of lawns to pay for them!!

John Watts
May 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Donna Czarnecki
May 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Do they make electric commercial mowers? It would be great if they could be used here on campus. Mowing when the grass really needs it, instead of on a set schedule, would also help at home, and on campus too!