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Lawn Mower Exchange Program a Success

Iowa residents go green and save green by trading in their gas-powered mowers for an eco-friendlier option.

By Abby Tripp, Urban Farm Assistant Editor

April 6, 2011

Gas-powered lawn mower

Courtesy iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Residents in Polk County, Iowa, traded in their gas-powered lawn mowers for a more eco-friendly option.

With rising fuel prices, using a gas-powered lawn mower costs a little extra green this season. From an environmental perspective, it’s also a decidedly un-green activity, with EPA data showing that one gas mower sends 87 pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and 54 pounds of other pollutants into the air each year. It adds up: Lawn mowers (and the 800 million gallons of gasoline we purchase each year to fuel them) contribute 5 percent of our nation’s total air pollution. 

This spring, however, residents of one Iowa county got the opportunity to swap their gas-powered lawn mowers for something a little greener. With the help of Polk County’s Lawn Mower Exchange Program, 35 Iowans traded in their old lawn mowers for vouchers that allowed them to purchase Neuton battery-powered mowers at a significant discount.

The program was co-sponsored by Polk County’s Air Quality Division, Neuton, Metro Waste Authority and Midwest Recovery.

The program arose out of Polk County leaders’ desire to involve citizens in a county-wide effort to reduce the amount of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter, explains Jeremy Becker, Air Quality Division manager. However, it was a series of partnerships that brought the idea of a lawn mower exchange to fruition.

“The Polk County Air Quality Division … received a $2,500 environmental stewardship and cost-effective waste management grant from Metro Waste Authority to help establish the … program,” Becker says. Midwest Recovery, an appliance recycling firm, then volunteered to recycle the gas-powered lawn mowers exchanged as part of the program at no cost. Neuton, which has partnered with several other state, county and municipal agencies to sponsor exchange programs throughout the U.S., offered “a significant discount on the mowers, advertising materials, coupons, tracking and approval, I.T. support, and free shipping.”

The program was so successful that funding was exhausted in just 16 days. According to Becker, the program will continue unfunded, with Midwest Recovery continuing to recycle old mowers and the Air Quality Division distributing coupons to participants for a smaller discount on the Neuton mowers. The county is already applying for additional grant funding for 2012, with plans to fund 100 exchanges next spring. 

Give us your opinion on Lawn Mower Exchange Program a Success.
Submit Comment »
I really love this site. Help me a lot for me choosing the best lawn mower for grass. Thanks!
Michael, Florida, FL
Posted: 9/8/2014 8:57:09 AM
Hmmmmmmm
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 7/22/2012 9:08:55 AM
Great idea unless it essentially becomes a coal-powered lawnmower. With an investment in clean energy sources for our electric appliances, we can have clean air at home AND wherever the power is being generated.
Jerry, SLC, UT
Posted: 4/8/2011 4:48:40 PM
An even better idea would be to use the old fashioned push mowers. Great way to get exercise and save the planet at the same time!
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 4/7/2011 11:54:13 PM

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