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Leaf Blowers vs Nissan Leaf

Leaf Blowers vs Nissan Leaf

If you own a two-stroke leaf blower and care even a little about your emissions; fumigating yourself or noise; we have some very bad news for you

It appears that your two-stroke leaf blower (and yes, mine too) is an out of control, horrendous planet polluter. It's so bad that it's up there with finding out that your angel child who helps old ladies across the street is actually not at church on Sunday at all. Instead he's off smoking cigarettes and drinking with his school mates at the local mall. (I knew I should have been suspicious of that church story.)

There actually isn't anything leafy about a petrol leaf blower. Many are powered by a two-stroke engine and produce nearly 300 times the hydrocarbon emissions of a pickup truck.  In an hour of use, one leaf blower can produce as much hydrocarbons as 150 cars! (plus another 149 exclamation marks). 

It turns out that mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers and outboard motors all punch way above their weight at emissions dumping and contribute significantly to air pollution in Australia. Presumably pollution is even worse in the vicinity of a Bunnings store, where the things can be seen walking themselves our the door any old Saturday. 

Across our suburbs, the combined use of small two-stroke engines parallels cars as the worst collective polluters on the planet. Running a single two-stroke petrol lawn mower for 1.5 hours emits as much pollution as driving a Toyota Camry from Sydney to Melbourne.

There is no real reason for these machines to be so filthy, but is is largely because these engines just haven't had the attention as on-road vehicles and so don’t have the same advanced emission controls. This all adds up to them being very high polluters relative to their engine size and usage. The impetus to fix the problem isn't there either as electric versions are get all the investment and are improving all the time.

What to do? If you are in the market for a leaf blower or any small motorised garden tool, buy an electric one. If you already own one, minimise it's use. The problem with dumping it is that it has to be disposed of unnecessarily and you have the carbon cost of replacement. 

For new power tools or gardening tools with motors, pretty much any petrol based power tool has an electric alternative and they are just a good and are invariably lighter, throw off no carcinogenic exhaust fumes and use minimal electricity. 

Of course, if you are live the right zoning, you can get  a live leaf chomper and ditch the blower. There are plenty of animals that eat grass, leaves and weeds (even your clothes, like goats) - and there are some excellent low footprint options around like Llamas who also make great pets and property protectors. 

(In case you are still looking for the emissions comparison with a Nissan Leaf, well it is an electric car...)

Images: Bentham Open | Consumer Reports | Auriga Llamas
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