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Are you making pollution when you mow?

By TERRI BENNETT
Terri Bennett
Terri Bennett has been providing weather forecasts in the Charlotte area for more than 16 years. In September 2007, she launched Terribennett.com to serve as the single source of Terri's knowledge and expertise. She is also promoting green technology in her 'Do Your Part' campaign.

You know spring is here from the loud buzz of lawn mowers, the piercing sound of leaf blowers and the incessant whir of trimmers.

In addition to noise pollution, gas-powered lawn equipment also creates air, land and water pollution. This summer, pick smarter equipment that will not only cut pollution but also trim lawn maintenance costs.

An ordinary gas-fueled mower can be heard at least a quarter mile away, says the National Pollution Clearinghouse. Meanwhile, 17 million gallons of fuel and oil are spilled each year during maintenance of this equipment, the Environmental Protection Agency reports.

Here’s one more startling statistic: Gas-powered lawn equipment produces roughly 5 percent of the air pollution generated in America. Think of it this way: A gas-powered lawn mower might spit out as much pollution each hour as 11 cars on the road.

There are better (and quieter) options. I use electric equipment. It starts with the push of a button and frees me from fuel and oil refills.

Electric mowers also are lighter and generate pollution at lower levels. The purchase price is higher, but they typically will cost you only about $5 a year to operate. You can also find electric blowers, trimmers and tillers. Check to find out if your state offers incentives for these purchases.

If you opt for a cordless electric mower, you should know the rechargeable battery contains lead. Take care to ensure the battery does not end up in a landfill. Fortunately, there are resources available for recycling these batteries.

Bennett: DoYourPart.com
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