Are Lawn Mowers Bad For The Environment? Find Out Here

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Written By James
Updated March 17, 2022 by James

Are Lawn Mowers Bad For The Environment? Find Out Here

How Negative Are Lawn Mowers For The Environment?

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, we all have a part to play in saving our planet, and one part you might not have considered checking out is the mower sitting in your shed. 

Lawn mowers, especially gas lawn mowers types are bad for the environment, they emit harmful carbon emissions and greenhouse gases which negatively affect the environment during their use.

In our guide below, we will take you through which type of lawn mower is the worst for the environment, the effects, how electric compared to petrol mowers affect the planet and some tips for making your mower more eco-friendly.

What Type Of Lawn Mowers Affect The Environment? 

The worst kind of lawnmower for the planet are gas-powered lawn mowers, this is because they run with an engine, similar to a car. It's said that using a gas mower for an hour has the same carbon footprint as driving a new car for around 500 km. 

In terms of gas mowers, the worst mowers you can find are two-stroke engines, this is because they are the older and cheaper version of four-stroke engines, they often result in incomplete combustion, releasing harmful emissions into the air, contributing to global warming.

The Bad Effects Of Lawn Mowers On The Environment 

To understand more about how lawnmowers contribute to greenhouse gases, we've listed the exact effects of these mowers on the environment below. 

Air Pollution 

The first effect of gas-powered lawn mowers is air pollution, some dangerous gases emitted to name are nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. This mostly stems from incomplete combustion from the mower engine. 

We've listed some more info about these gases below. 

  • Particulates - These are small particles emitted from the exhaust and cause smokiness as well as respiratory issues when inhaled.
  • Carbon monoxide - A poisonous gas that has no colour or odour and comes from incomplete fuel combustion.
  • Carbon dioxide - Carbon dioxide emissions happen when gasoline and other carbon emissions are burned together.
  • Nitrogen oxides - This dangerous pollutant contributes to acid rain due to nitrogen and oxygen in the air making high temperatures as well as high pressure. This pollutant can further react with hydrocarbons to make ground-level ozone. 

Fuel Spillage

When re-filling gas mowers it is possible that fuel can leak into your garden, ponds or anywhere else, some of this split gas can also evaporate as VOCs into the air spreading chemicals.

Air Quality 

Petrol lawnmowers can contribute to poor air quality and smog, this in combination with other standard lawns blower leaves is very bad for the planet. Gas mowers can match the running of a car for two-three hours.

Electric Vs Petrol Lawn Mowers - Which Is Better For The Environment? 

One way to reduce the environmental impact of petrol mowers is by switching to electric lawn mowers. 

We've compared the two and their environmental impact down below.

Electric Mowers 

It is obvious to see that electric mowers are better for the environment than petrol mowers, but by just how much?

For example, if your electric mower is powered by electricity from coal grid plants then it is just as bad, the pollution is instead produced out of sight. When comparing the pollution from running a petrol mower itself however this is greatly reduced. 

Electric mowers do not contribute to greenhouse gases through their running unlike petrol mowers, you are also less likely to have fuel spillage from them. Electric mowers are much more energy efficient too, giving you the ability to control power and use solar to charge your batteries.

The biggest downfall of electric mowers environmentally has to be its batteries. Unfortunately, this battery lawn equipment ends up in landfills, there are some recycling options however for these batteries depending on where you live. 

Pros 

  • Do not emit emissions with low carbon impact.
  • Energy-efficient. 
  • Solar chargers. 
  • Less likely for fuel spillage.

Cons 

  • Batteries can be thrown in landfills.

Petrol Mowers 

On the other hand, petrol mowers in comparison to electric mowers are much worse for greenhouse gas emissions. 

Two-stroke engines inside often have incomplete combustion contributing to toxic pollutants, this is because of the gasoline and oil mix. As we mentioned above, petrol mowers additionally can have fuel spillage when filling up. 

Another less discussed impact of petrol mowers is their noise pollution, pollution from gas lawn mowers can cause habitats to shrink and impact animals' health in the environment. 

That being said, the main pros of petrol mowers are their power and price, which is what often sways people to forget about their environmental impact. 

Pros 

  • Better power. 
  • Cheaper price. 
  • Great for larger gardens. 
  • No charging is needed.

Cons 

  • Incomplete combustion. 
  • Noise pollution. 
  • Fuel spillage.

Conclusion - Which Type Of Lawn Mower Is More Eco-Friendly?

Overall, it's pretty obvious that emissions from lawn mowers which are petrol ran are much worse than electric mowers, making electric mowers the much more eco-friendly choice. 

Our only warning is that with electric mowers you need to ensure that you are disposing of their batteries properly through recycling, rather than them getting dumped in a landfill.

Tips For Making Your Lawnmower Environmentally Friendly

Now we know that gasoline-powered lawn mowers are less eco-friendly than electric mowers, we have a few tips which can be implemented to try and reduce the environmental impact of lawn mowers.

  • Mulch your lawn - Mulching is an excellent way to get rid of your grass clippings rather than throwing them away, it releases great nutrients back into the soil and your garden will love it. 
  • Recycle water - Avoid over-watering your garden, this wastes water, you can also recycle rainwater for this use rather than using your main supply.
  • Weed the right way - If you are truly trying to take care of your lawn in an eco-friendly way then you should make sure you are weeding it the right way by simply pulling the weeds out rather than using chemicals to kill them.
  • Plant other plants - By planting other plants in your garden, you can naturally increase the nitrogen in the soil. For example, clover is a big producer of nitrogen in soil once planted.
  • Fertilise - Fertilising is great for your garden and a natural environment-friendly way to boost the health of your lawn.
  • Don't leave it running - Avoid starting your petrol mower and leaving it running, this can be tempting while you pop in the house, but for petrol mowers, you're releasing more emissions into the air.
  • Avoid chemicals - Avoid putting too many lawn chemicals in your lawn, to be eco friendly it's best to let mother nature do its thing.
  • Mow when needed - We all want to maintain a perfect lawn, but it's a good idea to have a schedule of when to mow your lawn rather than over mowing it. Too much mowing is not only bad for your lawn, but also the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lawnmowers & The Environment 

What is the danger of lawn chemicals to the environment? 

If lawn chemicals are not applied properly then they could potentially runoff into streams, this could then harm animals and even lead to drinking water pollution.

It's much better to use natural alternatives or handpick weeds to avoid chemical usage.

What is the estimation of greenhouse gas from mowers? 

There is a shocking estimation of between 16-41 billion Co2 emitted from lawnmowers every single year.

Why are petrol mowers emissions so bad for the environment? 

Petrol mowers are worse than electric mowers when it comes to emissions mainly due to the incomplete combustion from their engine.

Especially in two-stroke mowers, it is estimated that petrol models give eight times more nitrogen, 3,300 more times hydrocarbon and 5000 more times carbon dioxide than electric mowers.

Do gas-powered leaf blowers affect the environment? 

Yes, in the same way as petrol mowers, gas-powered leaf blowers can affect the environment negatively through emissions.

It is said that spilt gasoline from these blowers can also affect the environment like lawn practices for mowers.

What is the impact of lawn mowers on the environment compared to cars? 

It is said the environmental impact of mowers compared to cars, is that running a mower for one hour is the equivalent of running 40 late car models for an hour.

How can I make my lawn mowing more eco-friendly? 

To make your lawn mower more eco-friendly we suggest reducing the frequency of lawn mowing, mulching, switching to electric mowers and avoiding leaving your mower running when not in use.

Can I improve soil nitrogen naturally?

Yes, you can, one way to improve the nitrogen runoff in the soil is by planting supplementary plants such as clovers. You can also plant a green manure crop or add composted manure to the soil. 

Final Words 

Overall, emissions from lawn care are very high which negatively impact the environment at the cost of a perfect lawn. Petrol mowers in particular are much worse than electric mowers, but you also have to consider containers of lawn chemicals and other lawn care products which can seep off into water supplies.

We would suggest switching to an electric mower for a green lawn and implementing more eco-friendly lawn management practices such as mulching your lawn and using natural products rather than chemicals.

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James

My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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