A bill to reimburse people for switching from old, loud and polluting gas-powered lawn equipment to zero-emission, all-electric tools was introduced Monday by Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), chair of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee.
By simply turning in any internal combustion engine lawn equipment, individuals and business will be eligible for reimbursement vouchers equaling up to $200 for all-new, electric equipment.
“Using a gas-powered leaf blower emits the same amount of pollution as driving a car from Seattle to LA,” Carlyle said. “The deal here is simple, easy and lucrative for the public: all you need to do is turn in any lawn equipment clunker – working or not – and the state will give you up to $200 for any type of covered electric lawn equipment.”
Gas- and diesel-powered lawn and garden equipment contribute heavily to local and regional air pollution, producing scores of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and carbon dioxide. One hour of sustained leaf blower use emits the same air pollution as driving from Seattle to Los Angeles, according to the EPA and the California Air Resource Board.
It’s estimated that Americans use approximately 800 million gallons of gas per year on lawn care, generating as much as 5 percent of the air pollution in cities like Seattle.
Eligible equipment includes edgers, trimmers, chainsaws and pole saws; leaf blowers and vacuums; walk-behind mowers; ride-on or stand-ride mowers; and batteries and chargers.
“For us to be serious about climate action, we’ve got to give value to real people,” Carlyle said. “Small internal combustion are expensive, loud, and difficult to maintain. The movement towards electric equipment is now going well because of the quality of the products. I hope to have the program up and running in time for people to purchase new equipment for the 2022 summer.”
In addition to harming the environment, the transition to electric lawn equipment would cut down on the health issues that homeowners and business lawn care professionals unwittingly face. For instance, small lawn care business workers, often people of color, are most at risk for issues like respiratory and cardiovascular diseases from breathing in gas-powered equipment at very close quarters multiple times daily.
This builds on Carlyle’s big wins for consumers and the environment in the 2021 session, when a landmark package of environmental bills put the state on a path to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and air pollution and create new, green jobs.
“It’s time to make this transition. Today’s electric lawn equipment is leaps and bounds better than it was even a few years ago,” Carlyle said. “If given the opportunity, I believe the people of Washington will accelerate our momentum towards cleaner lawn care.
“This is another example of thoughtful, viable, meaningful climate work that will benefit real lives on the front lines.”
You can find FAQ about the Cash for Lawn Clunkers Act here.