Can electric leaf blowers do the job?

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I have been an Oak Parker for almost 40 years. I am for the environment. I am against climate change. I want to save all the species. For almost 40 years I've read letters against leaf blowers. Folks are against the noise (mostly) and folks are against the pollution. Me too.

I drove a hybrid car from 2004 until last year. Now I drive an EV — no noise and no pollution. But for now we are stuck with noisy, polluting leaf blowers. First, we need machines to move the leaves. It is just too labor intensive to try to do it with rakes. And the electric leaf blowers are just not powerful enough to do the job. I have not tried one, but I have seen my fellow citizens using them. They don't seem to be up for the job.

Technology gets better and better. Batteries get better and better. In warm weather, my new EV can go over 200 miles on a charge. Maybe next year they will have battery-powered leaf blowers that can do a professional job. When that happens I will switch sides to the anti-gas leaf blowers.

Allen Matthews

Oak Park

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Brian Slowiak  

Posted: November 21st, 2019 3:22 PM

@ Christopher Goode: Vehicle emissions must be "safe" otherwise the government would not allowed them to be sold. The term "safe" should be define. Should owners of cell phones and computers pay a carbon off set tax on them? Thanxs for the response.

Christopher Goode  

Posted: November 21st, 2019 3:02 PM

@Nick, perhaps not emissions in the same sense as other power generation released through smoke stacks, but yes, they produce some pretty toxic waste that we have not figured out how to stow away safely for the very long lengths of time that they need to be stowed. And @ Brian, yes, carbon footprint includes transporting raw materials and finished goods, and the life of the product and how it is recycled or disposed of, sometimes called cradle to grave lifespan. Green buildings now encourage you to procure and use materials from within a relatively close radius of the project in order to reduce that carbon footprint. Our ancestors were able to do this more easily than we are able, using local stone and wood, etc. as transporting it over long distances was difficult and cost prohibitive. That isn't true now, but it is costly to the environment to move products over long distances. Also, emissions from automobiles are not really safe or we wouldn't be trying to reduce or eliminate them.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: November 21st, 2019 1:36 PM

@ Christopher Goode: Is a persons carbon footprint enlarged when someone buys a cell phone or computer because of the transportation used to deliver the item, the fossil fuel used to make the plastic, the fossil fuel used to dig or transport the raw materials to make the phone or computer? Also, the government has determined that the emissions from a automobile are safe, so the emissions from the leaf blower are safe especially since the leaf blower is used way less than the auto. Thanks for the challenge.

Nick Polido  

Posted: November 21st, 2019 1:27 PM

Mr. Goode, Nuclear power plants produce plenty of emissions???????

Colin Taylor  

Posted: November 21st, 2019 12:56 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with Allen here. Gas-powered leaf blowers are some of the dirtiest polluting machines that a consumer can buy ----- studies have shown them to be far worse than a traditional automobile, even. Not to mention the noise pollution, which turns a lovely autumn morning into a squawking annoyance. A ban on gas powered leaf blowers, or ALL of them, would be a wonderful way to improve quality of life for our village.

Christopher Goode from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2019 11:54 AM

You say there is no pollution with electric leaf blowers but that is just not true. Sure there are no harmful emissions right at the leaf blower in your hand. Sure, if all of our electricity came from the sun or from wind, or from water power then that would be true, but, alas, most of it still comes from big plants, far away, running on fossil fuels or nuclear and both produce plenty of emissions. And the efficiency of electricity delivery is poor as well meaning that much of the energy produced is lost along the way making it an even greater waster and polluter. Not to mention the toxic substances in the batteries that they use and that we don't recycle and throw away when they no longer work. We seem to forget this when we propose electric vehicles and electric tools of all kinds. And electric leaf blowers are not much quieter than their gas powered cousins. Rakes on the other hand are relatively quiet, work remarkably well, and require no fossil fuels as they are powered by what we eat and the calories we use up doing the raking. It might take a little bit longer, but not all that much, and it gives us some good exercize that most of us office workers and couch sitters could use, and might even cause us to lose a little weight that we might otherwise pay a health club (probably driving there and back) to help us remove. Lets bring back rakes powered by muscles! They work just fine!

Van James Furniss  

Posted: November 19th, 2019 8:20 PM

Huntington CALM Guess you will be buiiying a bettery blower. commercial and homeowner grade blower are here and are comprable to work production of gas. All the major gas blower manufacturers have battery verisons. Husquvarna, Stihl, Greenworks, EGO, etc. Gofl courses, public works departments and landscaper nationwide are using battery blowers.

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