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A worker with Outdoor Digs landscaping company uses an electric-powered leaf blower in Morristown, New Jersey. 

A worker with Outdoor Digs landscaping company uses an electric-powered leaf blower in Morristown, New Jersey. 

Photographer: Lanna Apisukh/Bloomberg
Green
Greener Living

Noisy, Polluting Leaf Blowers Are Finally Going Electric

The carbon footprint of maintaining yards and parks is bigger than you think. That’s where electric tools come in.

In much of the northern hemisphere, the time of year is nigh for both brilliant fall foliage and its inescapable corollary: the persistent drone of high-powered leaf blowers. This year, however, may be just a little quieter.

Leaf blowers aren’t just autumn’s loudest hardware — they’re also hurricanes of pollution. Blowing just one hour’s worth of leaves with a gas-powered machine produces about as many smog-forming chemicals as driving 1,100 miles in a Toyota Camry, according to the California Air Resources Board. After years of pressure, those chemical (and audible) impacts are now pushing US municipalities to ban gas-powered tools, and presenting an opportunity for a new class of electric options. As those alternatives become more powerful and affordable than ever before, the American lawn is finally starting to go green.