“It’s Saturday. About Your Leaf Blower”
This was the headline in Jessica Stolzberg’s Op Ed in New York Times on April 15th. I have a feeling you already get the gist. Overwhelmed by the constant bad news on the state of the climate, we are nevertheless determined to do whatever we can to make a difference. We doggedly cart our food waste to the curbside or transfer station, cull our recyclables, purchase our pollinators. We care so much, but there is something so obvious that we can do COLLECTIVELY to make a bigger impact. Go Electric with Leaf Blowers!
The Pandemic Made it Worse
For years now, I have been talking with my landscaper, my husband, my neighbors, (truly, anyone who will listen) about banning the gas blower from our property. It came to a glaring head during the start of the pandemic. With everyone at home, working and Zooming, I was fed-up with running outside and asking our gardener, Angel, to pause the blower so our heads wouldn’t explode. It seemed like there was a constant buzz from 7am to 5pm most days of the week in our bucolic North Wilton neighborhood.
I get it; with no where else to go, we wanted our lawns and gardens to gleam.
I asked Angel to start researching electric blowers and ask his other clients if they would be interested in splitting the cost of purchasing one. The response was always negative: the blowers cost too much, they are not yet powerful enough, and no one wants to go in with us.
STOP TALKING ABOUT IT – TAKE ACTION
Flash forward two years. My husband and I, making good on another pledge, took the plunge and ordered at Tesla Model 3 to replace our 15-year-old trusted Prius. (a story for a future blog!) I was in the garage with our electrician, looking for a good place to mount the car’s charger, when I was overcome by the smell of fading gasoline fumes. (Angel had kindly blown out the garage earlier that day to get it clean for the new car). In that moment, I was struck by my own hypocrisy; patting myself on the back for the Tesla, when for years I made every excuse not to follow through on the electric blower. No time like the present to do something about it.
“Neighbor by Neighbor, Yard by Yard”: MAKE THE SWITCH
Angel and I went to Chubby’s Hardware in Scott’s Corner’s, NY to do our research and purchase the new blower and battery pack. There are many options you can buy on Amazon, Ace, Home Depot, etc. But there is such a big range in pricing and models that I felt I needed expert advice.
Chubby’s owner, Joe DiPietro, has been candid with me over the years about the quality of electric blowers, and suggested I wait until the new models were comparable in power and quality to commercial gas blowers. That time has now come. After much deliberation, we opted to go with a commercial model. The blower itself, the EGO 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower (model LBX6000) was pricey but not overwhelming at just under $400.00. It was our Battery Pack that was very expensive, the EGO Commercial Series BAX1501.
We chose the commercial model, in deference to our wonderful landscaper, Angel.
We have a large front and back property, and he and his crew work tirelessly. I worried that if I opted for the less expensive model, the guys would have to keep re-charging the battery during their weekly clean-ups, and with a cheaper blower, they wouldn’t have the power needed to get the job done.
The End Result: Good as Ever Yard Plus Quiet
In purchasing the set, it was my hope that maybe some of Angel’s customers would change their minds and share the cost with us, or maybe my neighbors would want to share it. So far that hasn’t happened; so we keep our pristine, very quiet and odorless blower in our garage next the Tesla charger. The yard looks as good as ever (except for a new variety of weed cropping up on the lawn and all the holes the puppy has dug!) I feel so good about our decision; not only about cutting down on noise pollution and greenhouse gases, but, most importantly, keeping a clean and healthy work environment for our gardeners.
The Time is Now!
I realize it is not feasible (nor will it be necessary) for everyone to buy an expensive commercial electric blower. Again, there is a vast range of models to choose from. I am sharing my experience, because, like Jessica Stolzberg said in her Op-Ed, “We must, increasingly, look to ourselves and take charge of what we can change on our own. A starting point is our own yards.” So go out and start doing your research, talk to your gardeners and ask them to share your ideas with their other customers. Maybe they are just waiting for someone to get the process started. Talk to your neighbors; you don’t need to have the same gardener to share your equipment. It might be a nice way to get to know some of them better, and it might just foster healthier relations when no one is grumpy about the constant buzzing.
The time is now to go electric. Happy Spring!