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Durham Entices Residents To Scrap Gas Lawn Mowers

A picture of a Viking gas-powered lawnmower.

Durham's "Get Your Grass Off Gas" campaign kicks off its fourth year next weekend. Each year, the city collects gas-powered yard equipment – like lawn mowers and weed whackers. They send those to the scrap yard and give residents discounts on new electric models.

City Sustainability Officer Tobin Freid says about 300 people have turned in gas-powered equipment over the past three years.

Freid says people have told her electric lawn mowers are easier to start because they use a power button instead of a pull cord. Freid says they’re especially efficient for small yards, though residents with big lawns might need a backup battery to finish the job. But she electric power tools there are other benefits.

“They're quieter and as you're out there mowing the lawn, you're not breathing in all those fumes. You also don't have to worry about storing gasoline in your shed or in your garage, which, of course, is a hazardous and highly flammable material.”

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a gas-powered lawn mower emits 11 times the air pollution of a new car.

Freid says they’ll set up at the corner of East Main and Queen Streets on June 21st. Black and Decker will be selling electric power tools at a discount.

“People can take their new equipment and go mow their lawns or edge or whatever they wanna do and know they're not creating the same kind of pollution.”

The city will also be collecting gasoline power tools to be scrapped. People who bring in gas equipment will get a bigger discount on new electric models.

“The equipment doesn't have to be working, it can be something that's been sitting in your shed for a long time. It does have to be drained. So, if you have any gasoline or oil or anything like that, people do have to drain it before bringing it to us. And, of course, responsibly dispose of that drained fluid.”

Freid says people can reserve specific equipment models before the event on the Durham Sustainability Office web site.

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