To buy or not to buy (a leaf blower)… THAT is the question!

leef blowrVery rarely does my husband ask to buy anything.  (Ask him about the ever decreasing clarity of our “getting-old-TV” that he regularly tolerates and I’m sure he would agree.)

This Fall his wish list has one item… a leaf blower, and he’s hoping for my blessing.  I’ll preface this with saying that our yard has a lot of trees.  In fact, our entire neighborhood has a lot of trees and since we’re on a treed ravine, the leaves are endless.

My obvious concern is the “green factor” and what the usage of a leaf blower would negatively contribute.  We’ve always tried to keep up with them by raking and raking and raking, but it sometimes seems like the Fall gets consumed with the task, and honestly, a blower would make it more efficient and much less time consuming.

So, in usual Mom Goes Green fashion, I set out to find the answer and here is what I discovered:

The combined emissions of ALL leaf blowers, residential AND commercial, used for one whole year are only EQUAL to the emissions created by all the cars driven on U.S. roads in only 11 hours of one singular day.

Now I know someone will say “Use a rake!” and yes, we will still use a rake.  They are noisy (but we are not early morning people anyhow and will limit our use!) and we don’t put leaves in plastic bags, we push them into the ravine… but, truly, this puts it into perspective.  If using that leaf leevesblower creates such an extraordinarily minuscule amount of emissions, if it saves us time that could be spent on other things, if one less trip to drive and run errands offsets its usage AND it makes my husband happy(!) (and all those answers are “yes!”, by the way) then, guess what….

…Honey, you’re getting a leaf blower! (…and you can use yours without guilt too!)

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"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

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6 thoughts on “To buy or not to buy (a leaf blower)… THAT is the question!

  1. Doreen, I’m a new reader and as a mom myself I really appreciate your blog and how you are trying to live a greener life. This post made me think.

    It seems to me that the lesser of two evils can still be a bad thing. Billions of “little” decisions are collectively killing our planet. I wouldn’t compare a few thousand leaf blowers to tens of millions of gas guzzling cars and saying the leaf blowers contribute less carbon. The point is that leaf blowers release unnecessary carbon into the environment and that’s why I refuse to use them. I let the leaves fall on the lawn, sweep the leaves off the sidewalk, and let nature take its course. But I don’t have a husband with a hankering for a leaf blower.

    If I did, I guess I’d treat this as an indulgence, to which hardworking husbands might be entitled, while still making a major effort to reduce carbon overall. Sort of like having a banana split every once in a while without throwing out the diet.

  2. Lin – you are absolutely right! I am truly an advocate of the mindset that it IS the many, many small decisions that collectively add up and make a difference. In our lives, we strive to make the best choices possible and no, a leaf blower isn’t one of them, but YES, it is a little indulgence that my husband requests and in my heart of hearts I know its use will be extremely limited and the majority of our regular fall clean-up will be done with rakes in hand! I suppose the leaf blower will be my husband’s banana split(!) since he indulges me constantly with all of my other green ways on a daily basis! 🙂

  3. What’s your source on leaf blower emissions? Like lawn mowers, leaf blowers lack any kind of noise suppression or emissions controls, so they pollute an awful lot compared to the amount of fuel they burn. I’m thinking of getting myself an electric leaf vacuum. Instead of blowing dust and leaves around, I’ll be sucking them up and shredding them at the same time, making them perfect for composting. I figure at least the power plant has air cleaners, unlike the leaf blower.

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