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Do Your Part to Mow Down Air Pollution

Maryland Department of Environment makes it easier — and cheaper — to ditch your dirty old mower

Each gas-powered lawn mower in use produces the same amount of air pollution as 40 new cars driven over that same period. To cut down on those emissions, Maryland Department of the Environment is offering discounts on the recharheable electric Neuton mower for each gas-powered mower turned in.

Find a greener way to care for your lawn Saturday, August 14, at the Great Maryland Lawn Mower Event in Baltimore’s Camden Yards. The first 1,000 people who bring their gas guzzling power mowers to the event can exchange them for a discount in purchasing one of two environmentally friendly electrical Neuton mowers.

“This is actually going to be the fourth lawn mower exchange that we’ve done in Maryland,” says Maryland Department of the Environment’s air quality regulation development division chief Randy Mosier. “We just thought this would be a way people could do the right thing and help improve air quality.”

Sponsoring the event with both Clean Air Partners and Neuton mowers, the Maryland Department of Environment hopes to give out 1,000 coupons for Neuton mowers and collect at least 1,000 gas-powered mowers that have been polluting the Bay’s air.

“We’re asking people to turn in their old gas-powered mower and you’ll get up to 66 percent off a new Neuton lawn mower,” says Clean Air Partners’ Lauren Brisbo. The mowers will be on hand to buy, and consumers have a choice between purchasing the 19-inch CE6 and the 14-inch CE5 lawn mower from a Neuton representative.

“The larger CE6 originally was $499; it will be available for $175,” says Mosier. “The CE5 will be available for $135.”

While the discounted Neutons are nice, Mosier insists the real savings can be found in improved air quality. He sites the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate that five percent of all air pollution can be attributed to lawn care equipment nationwide.

“In larger metropolitan areas [lawn care equipment] can be one of the bigger pollutants,” says Mosier. “There are few if any emissions controls in older mowers. Plus all the gas that is spilled in refueling. There’s a figure that there’s as much gas spilled in refilling each year as was spilled by the Exxon Valdez.”

Still, Neuton electric mowers are not a fix-all for air pollution.

“You need to know your yard,” says Mosier of the benefits of an electric mower. “If you have an overly large yard or a yard with a lot of hills or a southern tougher grass, this may not be the mower for you. But it will serve the average yard well. The noise reductions alone are worth it.”

Each mower is capable of about an hour of mowing before the battery has to be recharged. This may mean you have to trim your grass with a game plan, but most suburban and urban homeowners won’t suffer from the time constraint.

Also the Neuton is a paragon of convenience when compared to older electric mowers. Instead of dragging the mower to your home or running an extension chord to the mower, Neutons come with removable 36- and 24-volt batteries that charge over an eight-hour period.

To keep the event as green as possible, the Maryland Department of the Environment is making sure that the donated gas mowers are recycled and used for scrap metal.

While cutting your grass with an electric mower won’t single handedly save the Bay’s air, Mosier sees the exchange as a significant step in the right direction.

“I would love to do another program next summer or early spring,” says Mosier, who also wants lawn care enthusiasts to be conscious of their environment. “There are times of the year when it is more detrimental to operate your gas-operated equipment. Listen to forecasts for emissions reports. Code green is the ideal time. We’ve been trying to educate people for about 20 years now.”

To get your chance to buy a discounted Neuton mower, rsvp at the Clean Air Partners’ website. Or take a chance and arrive at Camden Yards at 8am to see if coupons are left: www.cleanairpartners.net.