Your Lawn Mower is Polluting Our Environment!

Did you know that mowing your lawn is actually a significant source of today’s pollution? Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a new gas powered lawn mower produces many carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides.  

man using push lawnmower to mow yard

One gas mower running for an hour emits the same amount of pollutants as eight new cars driving 55 mph for the same amount of time, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

That’s because cars have complex emission control technologies installed. Lawnmowers don’t. Moreover, pollutants from lawnmowers contribute ozone at ground level, which can impair lung function, inhibit plant growth, and contribute to smog.

Mowing your Lawn, Polluting the Environment

Paul Tukey, founder of People, Places, and Plants magazine, provides some sobering facts about lawn mowing in the U.S. Each year, a family with a one-third acre lawn will on average:

  • consume five gallons of gas for mowing and trimming;
  • apply the equivalent of seven gallons for fertilizing;
  • burn up to five gallons for watering;
  • and, consume an additional gallon for cleanup.

That’s 18 gallons of fuel per household annually used to mow the lawn. Small power equipment users also tend to pollute through careless fuel handling and improper maintenance. The EPA also estimates that over 17 million gallons of fuel, mostly gasoline, are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment.

Additional Problems Associated with Lawn Mowers

According to EPA data, four percent of the U.S. population live in counties that do not meet the EPA’s clean air standards for particulate matter. And the main sources of particulate matter emissions in the U.S. are mobile sources, including lawnmowers. This is because small engine design has had less attention to emission control than have other machines in common everyday usage.  Garden equipment engines, which have had unregulated emissions until the late 1990’s, produce up to 5% of the nation’s air pollution through particulate matter and a good deal more in metropolitan areas.

Additionally, your lawn grows quickly and needs so much mowing due to the synthetic nitrogen fertilizers you spread.  Much more impactful on the environment than originally thought, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers require the heating of natural gas to combine atmospheric nitrogen and hydrogen into ammonia. Each 40-pound bag contains the fossil-fuel equivalent of approximately 2.5 gallons of gasoline. Transporting these bags of fertilizer from the factory and to your home requires additional fuel. The burning of fossil fuels, as we know, produces heat-trapping gases that are the main cause of the ongoing rise in global atmospheric temperatures. They also contribute to pollution of lakes and groundwater.

Finally, according to a California study, in many areas — especially in the West, where water must be moved great distances from reservoirs — the amount of fuel needed to pump the water is at least equal to the fuel used in mowing. Until recently, groundwater was thought to be immune to the many chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides, which we use on our lawns and gardens. Now we know that’s just not the case.  Lawn mowing has much more of a negative effect on our water supplies than we ever thought.

A Sustainable Alternative to Lawn Mowing and Its Pollution

Many options exist to offset the need to mow.  You can create borders around your yard from trees and shrubs that need minimal pruning, which also help to reduce the energy costs of heating and cooling your house.  A better, more lasting, and cost saving method to alleviate the pollution involved with lawn mowing is to replace your traditional lawn with Turfscape®, a synthetic turf that is created out of engineered materials.

Turfscape® is a proven safe, effective, and affordable way to maintain attractive lawns and playable fields without contributing pollutants to the environment. Innovative Turfscape® is an alternative to traditional lawns, and it helps more eco-conscious residential customers conserve water, cut down on the costs of lawn care, and limit environmental degradation.

Turfscape® is a leading synthetic turf landscape solutions provider in North America, delivering scientifically engineered, environmentally-friendly synthetic turf that saves residential, municipal, and commercial customers time and money, improves aesthetic appeal, and ensures a safe surface for families, children, and pets.Ordinary grass requires a great deal of care: proper feeding, protective chemicals and aeration, not to mention an incredible amount of water.

This post has been sponsored by our Green Franchise partner, Turfscape; image from BigStock

« »

About the Author

Ecopreneurist and Important Media (our parent company) choose to work with select clients for paid promotion on our network sites. This is the account for all paid content. For information about paid outreach, please contact our Accounts Manager Andrea Bertoli.