Leaf Blowers etc.
Oct 16, 2021 at 8:00 am #3729820
JS Scott: This one is for you! As long suspected you are a true pioneer (evidently with the ear of Gavin Newsome?!)
California bans leaf blowers! (powered by 2-stoke gasoline motors)
“Operating a gas leaf blower for one hour can produce as many NOx+ROG emissions as driving 1,100 miles in a new passenger car.”
My wife heard about this on the news last night, only the comparison she heard was that an hour of operation was the equivalent of driving a new Ford F-150 to Alaska from somewhere like 3000 miles away which seems really incredible.
No forcibly retired chaffer could hear that news without thinking of Mr. Scott!Oct 16, 2021 at 9:11 am #3729823Chris RBPL Member
They are also really good at stirring up lots of dust particles and fungal spores that play havoc with peoples lungs. Most times their use is unnecessary and it would only take a few minutes with a broom or rake to clean the leaves away from any areas where they may create an issue.Oct 16, 2021 at 9:31 am #3729824
OBX! My man! and Chris: plus 10. Those of us with allergy issues hate leaf blowers for the same reasons that you both state.Oct 16, 2021 at 6:17 pm #3729840BlackHatGuySpectator
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
Ha! Yes, I immediately thought of Mr. Scott when I read about this a couple of days ago. Who knew he wielded such power in CA politics!Oct 16, 2021 at 6:53 pm #3729841
Well hard to hear this news without thinking of Mr. Scott….. but ….
Speaking of the environment; this seems like a pretty big step. Anyone out there in fiery Cali know if there might be some related benefits from reduced sparks etc. from 2 stroke gas engines or is the idea straight up cutting emissions with a fringe benefit of not stirring up pollutants/spores/allergens. microbes and etc.?Oct 16, 2021 at 8:43 pm #3729843
obx, I’m not sure what all of the rationales behind this ban might be. Certainly ending their pollution and co2 emissions, which are extremely high, is justification enough.
If the spark from one leaf blower has caused a wildfire that consumed, oh, twenty or a hundred square miles, or even homes, which then put out all that smoke and carbon by the tons…when a good ol’ rake would have quietly done the job…then that alone is justification as well.
There will still be electric blowers, which are annoying too. Someone hires a gardener to blow leaves and dirt into their neighbor’s yard, or the street, where it blows into another yard. Someone else hires someone to blow it back again. Endlessly. Madness.
There will be those who say, “You’re going to have to pry my leaf blower from my cold dead hands.”Oct 17, 2021 at 1:52 am #3729849
California will eventually ban sales of new gas-powered leaf blowers, string trimmers, lawn mowers, chainsaws, generators, and more.
Expect a vibrant sub-industry to maintain and even upgrade pre-ban equipment. Happened with cars and big-rig trucks at each major stage of stricter air pollution requirements.
Also look for a rush to buy pre-ban equipment. Maybe COVID-19 supply-chain disruptions will be an unexpected blessing.
OTOH, this will encourage manufacturers to innovate on battery and electric replacements. Since small engines and I never got along, I’m on my third generation of electric or battery leaf blowers and they keep getting better. Neighbor with much louder and stinkier gas-powered leaf blower is jealous.
Living in the woods with a near-constant drizzle of dust and leaves, raking and sweeping quickly showed their limits. Leaves and small crud are dangerous in ways I never imagined while living in town, ironically including wildfire potential. “You’re going to have to pry my leaf blower from my cold dead hands.”
If you believe my embiggened electric bill, at least I’m recharging with 100% solar and wind energy. Every electron entering the house has a little green tag on it, but they move awfully fast, so I’m not sure.
You can create sparks from an electric lawn mower, chain saw, tractor, etc. almost as easily as from a gas-powered one. Metal blade striking stone – hmmm, sounds vaguely familiar.
— RexOct 17, 2021 at 12:24 pm #3729878MJ HBPL Member
It seems like every time I try to think, someone starts a leaf blower. This was true working in the office and it’s more true from home. I prefer the leaves to the noise, but we don’t have any real fire risk around here.Oct 17, 2021 at 6:34 pm #3729896
In the articles linked above they said the ban was on ALL 2-stroke gasoline engines. Which was described as gasoline engines that are lubricated with oil mixed in the gas? Hinted that there might be some forms of personal transport thusly powered like scooters or small 3 wheelers? Carts?
Anyway everyone I talk to has been switching to electrical and battery-powered. So much easier to get a reliable start. No worry about bad gas, gunked up carburetors, wearing out your rotator cuff pulling on the crank cord (which then breaks of course on the 38th pull right when the thing gave a promising sputter or 2) More portable. Easier to ‘wield’ And batteries are getting more powerful all the time.Oct 17, 2021 at 6:37 pm #3729897Oct 22, 2021 at 4:39 pm #3730302
And here’s the actual law:
Relatively short and simple. The goal is zero exhaust and evaporative emissions. No distinction between 2-stroke, 4-stroke, gasoline, diesel, ethanol, etc. Many details left up to the California Air Resources Board (CARB):
By July 1, 2022, the state board shall, consistent with federal law, adopt cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines, as defined by the state board. Those regulations shall apply to engines produced on or after January 1, 2024, or as soon as the state board determines is feasible, whichever is later.
More from CARB on SORE, but nothing about the new law:
Oh wait – this is BPL! Must find the lightest leaf blowers, chain saws, string trimmers, generators, arc welders, etc. for backpacking. :-)Oct 22, 2021 at 5:01 pm #3730304
Because electricity comes from magic beans and lithium batteries grow on trees…
So under the current arrangement, to favor electric power *technically speaking* means to favor fracking (among other savory choices). No free lunch, but a good chance of pushing the pollution footprint of the services you enjoy into someone else’s neighborhood.Oct 22, 2021 at 6:05 pm #3730321
“Oh wait – this is BPL! Must find the lightest leaf blowers, chain saws, string trimmers, generators, arc welders, etc. for backpacking. :-)”
Yep! How about the light weight zero emission rake? Our forbears (wait, I thought it was ‘three bears’) managed to get along somehow…with brooms and rakes. And by ‘forbears’, I mean all of history from 1995 until now.
That said, Rex makes a good point in his earlier post. There ARE situations where a leaf blower may be appropriate. Gardeners in particular, and Grounds Keepers, are helped a lot by leaf blowers. So: if you hire a gardener, tell them to forget making a groomed and pristine carpet of your garden and lawn. Tell them to leave the mulch. It’s better for your soil, your garden. Fifty million years of evolution attest to this. Would we leaf blow the ground all through forests to make it pretty and clean? Nature itself cries, No.
No carbon is released when we change our perceptions! Embrace the mulch! And use a rake or broom on your walkway. For Rex and others in more complex but atypical situations, you have our blessing. Let the Ground Keepers’ lives be eased. Use the electric leaf blower.
Mr. postage stamp suburban lawn owner: use a friggin’ rake yourself.Oct 22, 2021 at 6:20 pm #3730322David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Craig, while most current electrical generation is fossil-fuel, California’s policies (on many fronts) is predicated on new generation mostly being wind and solar, which isn’t far from being true. Even here in Alaska, the 6 biggest projects on my desk are all wind, solar and hydro. There are no new combustion units on our
People don’t frac for gas. They frac for liquids – that’s where the profit is, and in the process often bring up gas. That’s why the NG market has been so volatile – high oil prices makes for lots of domestic frac’ing, which brings up gas which then drops in price, while lower oil prices (and a pandemic) do the reverse and result in high gas prices.Oct 22, 2021 at 6:22 pm #3730323David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I do like my electric string trimmer in every way – quieter, as powerful, vastly easier to start.
My electric mower isn’t quite as powerful as the gas one, but the quiet and lack of fumes is worth it.
My cordless leaf-“blower”? I mow with the cordless mower with the bag attached. And then dump the leaves into the forest.Oct 22, 2021 at 8:09 pm #3730338HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: The West is (still) the Best
Oh wait – this is BPL! Must find the lightest leaf blowers .. [lawn] trimmers
Well if you wanted multiple uses from your Swiss Army knife scissors..
Seriously .. the mornings I decided to “sleep in” was usually the mornings someone close by decides to leaf blow or trim the lawn … can’t say I have much sympathy.Oct 22, 2021 at 8:53 pm #3730341
You’re clearly more well versed on these topics than I am David. I guess what gets me is the pervasive and inherent assumption (at least in the circles I’m immersed in) that electric energy is somehow a free lunch. The Guardian recently published a pretty nasty expose on the surge in global lithium mining.
I’m also a little skeptical of solutions that require the disposal of perfectly good products only to be replaced by new ones. I.E. the most efficient (in net pollution) car you can drive is likely the one you already own that sill works.
When I read about laws like this, my mind immediately conjures images of container ships of batteries and electric blowers coming from China….Where does the manufacturing and newfound consumption get factored in?Oct 22, 2021 at 11:43 pm #3730343
I pay a little extra for electricity to get 50/50 solar and wind. Says so in tiny print on each electron.
Yep – lithium mining is a problem. So is global warming, oil & gas drilling, pipeline operation (oops, sorry ‘bout those L.A. beaches & marine life), refining (ask anyone living nearby), coal mining (cough-cough, sorry about those mountain tops and valleys), uranium mining & refining (mostly on impoverished Native American reservations), nuclear waste disposal (stay away for about 100,000 years), and more. I’ll take door number 1, thank you.
And the new CA law doesn’t require disposal of current air-polluting SORE, just bans new ones after a well-known date. With plenty of options on the market now for most uses, and some wiggle-room if the tech ain’t ready yet.
Still looking for that 1,500-foot retractable power cord. Might need something longer for backpacking.
— RexOct 23, 2021 at 5:26 am #3730352BonzoBPL Member
@bon-zoLocale: Virgo Supercluster
I guess what gets me is the pervasive and inherent assumption (at least in the circles I’m immersed in) that electric energy is somehow a free lunch.
We must hang out in the same kind of circles, then, because I constantly deal with that as well. I know a lot of people that are very proud of their brand-new, low/no emission < insert object name here > and they can’t seem to wrap their head around the idea that there’s a chain of production, transport and upkeep that generally doesn’t share their values…but as long as the person in the mirror is smiling back at them, they remain somewhat detached and unconcerned.Oct 23, 2021 at 9:31 am #3730358Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
chaff is back!
I live next to a golf course and they have “golf course sized” leaf blowers. One going right now.
Men like leaf blowers because you get so much action with a fairly small effort.
The strategy seems to be to have ever more dire warnings about how we’re all doomed. Maybe a better strategy is to reassure people we will still be able to drive and have lights and warmth until there are alternatives.Oct 23, 2021 at 10:44 am #3730365
How about we return to rakes and brooms and stop expecting landscapers to do more, faster, for less money? And DIYers can trade in their gym memberships for hand tools…Cycling to work one day a week is a 20% reduction in energy consumption and emissions and it doesn’t cost a penny or require a lithium mine in someone else’s backyard…
But it’s clear we’re determined to have our cake and it it too.Oct 23, 2021 at 2:24 pm #3730377AK GranolaBPL Member
Less groomed lawn in general would improve wildlife habitat, and reduce the need for fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and all the tools described above. I do like a bit of open space right around the house, but I’m glad to live in a place where the rest of my 2 acres is just whatever wants to grow there, mostly spruce forest. My little cranberry patch! Also great for the lazy person who would rather spend their physically active moments hiking.Oct 23, 2021 at 5:31 pm #3730387Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Southern Indiana
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure natural gas emits about half as much CO2 per kilowatt of electricity produced than coal.
The most significant trend in US electric production over the past couple of decades has been power plants switching over from coal to natural gas. So you mean Trump’s pledge of bringing coal jobs back to Appalachia didn’t really come true?
I despise the noise of a leaf blower and yes leaves could be cleaned manually just like they were back in the old days. Can’t imagine how people survived for thousands of years without leaf blowers. But fat Americans will always find an easier way to do things even if it’s loud and spews lots of carbon dioxide (and other unsavory particles).
I think California is right to ban all 2 stroke leaf blowers. The emissions from the oil/gas mix produce a HUGE carbon output. Of course the power and performance of a 2 stroke can’t be matched in a small engine. I use an Echo 2 cycle weed eater to take care of an estate and that thing is bad ass. I feel like a hypocrite though, yet I can see more of a true need for weed eaters over leaf blowers. Leaf blowers should be outlawed nationwide just for the noise pollution alone, not to even mention all of the harmful gasses 2 cycle engines emit.Oct 23, 2021 at 5:40 pm #3730388
Rex, I had Velma Melmac in mind all along!
As for Prius’ and the rest still requiring electricity that’s dirty: no necessarily. It depends on where it’s sourced. The biggest growth, by far, in power production today is in renewables. Investors are leaving coal and fossil fuel sourcing. The success of hybrid and electric vehicles has helped make this happen: investors see what people want to buy.
anyway, better is better than nothing. Better is good! take it.Oct 24, 2021 at 11:06 am #3730411AK GranolaBPL Member
On the bike to work comment – I used to do this every single day, April-September. Then I encountered age. I’m still physically strong enough to do it, but cannot find a bicycle seat that is comfortable, and I have arthritis in my thumb joints that is exacerbated by leaning on handlebars. It’s discouraging to have seemingly unsolvable problems that make it harder to live a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle. I’m trying to compensate in other ways, just by consuming less, finding more used gear, and right now with Covid, traveling less via air. But I miss my biking to work days, a lot.
I imagine a lot of homeowners also go for the leaf blowers over rakes, as they age. I remember my dad always had a push (non-powered) mower for years, and then suddenly got a power mower, automatic garage door opener, etc. I’m just now learning why…
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