Earth Month: Eco-tip #16 Rake leaves the hard way

Leaf blowers pollute as much as some cars.

It’s a shame, isn’t it – some technological advances that make our lives easier are often harmful to the environment and to our well-being. Most people dread the thought of raking leaves. Leaf blowers do the job many times quicker and without the back pain, but these convenient machines also annually pollute as much as some cars. In fact, the California Environmental Protection Agency estimated in 2000 that a leaf blower used for 30 minutes emitted as much pollution as a car driven at least 2,200 miles at 30 mph.

The U.S. EPA estimates that as much as 5 percent of ozone-forming pollution comes from lawn equipment made before 1997. Don’t forget that leaf blowers are also noisy, stir up allergens in the air and waste gas. Electric leaf blowers are slightly greener, sure, but neither type of blower is as effective as manually raking a lawn. In fact, you could burn up to an average of 50 calories every 30 minutes from raking. Together we can work toward better air quality – and get a little workout – if we drop some of our convenient and mechanical lawn tools in favor of an old-fashioned rake.

Stay tuned for more tips from USAgain!

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