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Landscaping Equipment

According to the EPA, emissions from landscape equipment (mowers, blowers, trimmers, etc.) can be greater than those from a car, per hour of operation. Small gasoline-powered two-cycle engines are the most polluting.

Here are some ideas for keeping pollution from landscaping equipment to a minimum:


  • Mandate your town's purchase of electric landscaping equipment whenever possible, including mowers, blowers and

weed wacker

sweepers. Electric landscaping tools create no pollution, are easy to start, lightweight and often have features such as "grasscycling" for mowers that chop clippings into compostable bits.

  • Keep all motorized equipment in top working condition, replacing oil and air filters regularly, getting periodic tune-ups and keeping blades sharp.                                                                             

  • Avoid gasoline and motor oil spills. Even small gas spills volatilize into the air and create pollution, while oil spills run off into surface waters, polluting these fragile eco-systems.

Washington, DC​, banned the use and sale of gas-powered leaf blowers. 

The state of California has prohibited the sale and is phasing out the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers, string trimmers, hedge trimmers, and small chainsaws.

Maplewood, NJ, was the first town in New Jersey to enact a year-round ban of gas-powered leaf blowers. 

Princeton, NJ, has a seasonal gas leaf blower ban.

Southampton, NY, became the first AGZA Green Zone® on the east coast in 2016 by using only electric-powered maintenance equipment in a town-owned park to reduce noise levels and eliminate carbon emissions and toxic pollutants.

South Pasadena, CA, became the first city in the nation with zero-emission landscape maintenance.

Sonoma, CA, referendum-approved leaf blower ordinance prohibits the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. Read the Leaf Blower Guidelines


The Regional Air Quality Council in Denver runs a Mow Down Pollution program where homeowners trade in old gas mowers for electric mowers at a significant discount.


Quiet Communities (QC) is an independent nonprofit organization with a mission to transition landscape maintenance to low noise, zero emissions practices with positive solutions to protect the health of workers, the public and the environment.

The Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em initiative provides training, marketing, and a policy campaign for on-site grass and leaf mulching to help municipalities save money, time and labor.

Healthy Yards has information about sustainable landscaping practices.


[1] Banks, J. L., PhD, MS, & McConnell, R. (2018). National Emissions from Lawn and Garden Equipment. 

[2] Ecological landscape Alliance. (2015) Can Electric Equipment Revolutionize Landscape Maintenance?

[3] Chaplin, B., et al. (2002). Long-Term Evolution of Biodegradation and Volatilization Rakes in a Crude Oil-Contaminated Aquifer. Bioremediation Journal, 6(3), 237-255.

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