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CLEANER YARDS,
DIRTIER AIR?

Warmer weather is on the way and, for many people, this means the start of yard care season. Homeowners might not realize that lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, chain saws, and leaf blowers represent a significant source of carbon monoxide and smog-forming hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, but the average lawn mower emits as much smog-forming pollution in one hour as eight new cars traveling at 55 miles per hour.

By following a few simple steps, however, you can keep your yard looking its best with less environmental impact:

When the time comes to buy new yard equipment, consider electric-powered models. They may have a higher price tag than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but they are up to 50 percent less expensive to operate over a 10-year life span because of lower fuel costs. Electric tools are also cleaner—even if the electricity they use is generated from fossil fuels, it is easier to control the pollution from a single power plant than from thousands of individual tools.

You can eliminate pollution entirely by using old-fashioned manual tools such as push mowers, pruning shears, and rakes or brooms. These are especially appropriate for small yards or lawn care projects.

If you need gasoline-powered equipment, however, choose models with a four-stroke engine rather than a two-stroke engine. Generally speaking, four-stroke engines are far more efficient and generate fewer pollutants.

Written by: Union of Concerned Scientists.


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