In California, yard work is about to become greener. A new law passed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2021 bans gas-powered small-motor equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chainsaws. Going forward, this equipment will need to be battery powered or plug-in.
These gas-powered machines are highly inefficient and emit pollutants such as carbon monoxide, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, and smog-forming nitrous oxide. According to a 2011 study, a leaf blower emits almost 300 times the amount of air pollutants as a pickup truck. Assemblyman Marc Berman, who authored the legislation, says the state will direct $30 million to assist professional landscapers and gardeners to transition.
A number of cities across the U.S. are also beginning to institute bans on gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers, including Burlington, Vermont, Montclair, New Jersey, and Washington, DC. In Massachusetts, the city of Brookline has a seasonal ban on gas powered leaf blowers, and Lexington will institute a total ban by 2026.