The Environmental Impact Of Lawn Mowers 5/5 (1)

Lawn mower

There are a range of types of lawn mower available, including automatic models such as the gas-powered and electric-powered lawn mower, as well as manual variants like the push mower. Whereas automatic is certainly more convenient, it’s not always the best choice for everyone. Each of these models has its own pros and cons, as we’ll examine in more detail below.

Basic facts

If you’re looking to purchase a lawn mower, you’ll first want to decide whether you’re going to buy a push mower, which has no motor or engine, or an automatic model that runs on gasoline or electric. Breaking this down further, you may also have the option to pick up either a corded-electric mower, or one that runs on a battery.

Whereas the gas-powered lawn mowers will normally be more powerful and easily able to attack overgrown weeds and grass with ease, they also have a range of drawbacks surrounding their maintenance and impact on the environment. Corded-electric mowers don’t share the same pitfalls, and are typically cheaper to maintain, but have their own disadvantages, such as the risk of running over a live wire, and limitations around how far from an outlet you can be.

Overall, the best choice for environment-conscious people is going to be an electric-powered model or push mower; read ahead to discover why this is.

Air pollution

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, lawn equipment is responsible for a large amount of environmental pollution, particularly where that equipment runs on gasoline power. Their national emissions inventory highlighted that in 2011, fumes produced by gas-powered garden equipment led to approximately 41 billion pounds of CO2 and approximately 13 billion pounds of other air pollutants and carcinogens being released into the atmosphere.

The 2-cycle engines used in many gas-powered lawn machines produce ultrafine particles that, according to website Fair Warning can pose serious health problems for people who are constantly exposed to them. When these particles are breathed in, their minute size allows them to penetrate deep into the lungs.

Noise pollution

When most people think of pollution caused by gasoline engines, they likely think of air pollution or ground contamination specifically. However, the other type of pollution you’d be contributing towards with this type of mower is noise pollution. When operated, gasoline engines are extremely loud, which can be a nuisance to neighbors, wildlife, and any other people in the vicinity. You could also run the risk of hearing damage.

This is also a problem shared with electric-powered mowers, as they still use a high-power motor. The only way to get around the problem of noise pollution is to opt for a manual push mower, which produces little to no noise when used.

Ground contamination

Gas-powered lawn mowers typically run on a combination of gasoline and oil, both of which are a risk to the environment in more ways than one. Aside from the fumes produced by such a model, there is a risk of either of these chemicals contaminating soil and natural water sources. Gasoline, for example, contains a carcinogenic chemical called benzene.

Previous studies have proven that the continued leakage of gasoline into the ground can cumulatively result in public health risks, even if done in lesser amounts over a long period of time; it doesn’t require a large spillage to have an effect on the environment. Thus, when emptying the gasoline and oil tanks of a gas-powered lawn mower, you run the risk of contributing to the problem.

Alternatives to gas-powered lawn mowers

As mentioned earlier in this post, there is an alternative to gas-powered motors. If you don’t want to sacrifice on the convenience of an automatic lawn mower, then you could opt for a corded or cordless electric lawn mower, though these still produce a lot of noise pollution and have safety concerns not shared with gas mowers. Alternatively, you could simple opt for a manual push mower, producing no pollution and simultaneously getting exercise.


Gas-powered lawn mowers are by far the most convenient way to mow the lawn, but they come at a cost. If you’re not keen on contributing to the pollution of the environment in this way, then there are alternatives available to you that won’t make a large degree of difference to the power under the hood. Alternatively, you could switch to manual power for a completely green solution.

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