Seattle City Council approves plan to phase out gas leaf blowers| Sept. 21-27, 2022

The Seattle City Council passed a resolution on Sept. 6 in support of the city’s plan to eliminate gas-powered leaf blowers by 2027. The legislation, which is a nonbinding resolution, asks the Mayor’s Office to develop a plan to stop the city and its contractors from using gas-powered leaf blowers by January 2025 and private individuals, businesses and institutions from using the machines by January 2027. The bill inserts a clause, but does not specify a deadline. “or later, if necessary.”

Alex Pedersen (Councilmember), introduced the resolution. He represents the University District, Ravenna and Wallingford as well as other areas in northeast Seattle. It was unanimously approved by the council.

The Seattle legislation follows similar initiatives from other states and cities throughout the United States. In 2021 California’s state legislature passed a law2024 ban on gas-powered leaf blowers/lawnmowers Another ban in Washington, D.C.This was in effect earlier this year.

An activist group is behind every local initiative Quiet Clean SeattleThe Environmental Protection Agency is concerned by noise pollution and air quality effects of gas-powered leaf blowers.

Peri Hartman, the founder of the group, stated electric leaf blowers are more efficient than gas-powered models. Hartman claimed that he has found an electric leaf-blower that is powerful enough for the most challenging tasks, such blowing wet leaves. Hartman spent a lot time researching new models.

He also stated that in Santa Cruz an environmental group discovered that switching from fossil fuels could reduce operating expenses by as much as 80 percent within a 10-month period. 

“Electricity is incredibly cheap compared to gasoline, and the labor to maintain the gas engine is substantial, whereas there is zero-to-no labor to maintain an electric motor and battery,”Hartman stated. “Plug it in the charger at night and in the morning you throw them in your bag and you get going. That’s it; nothing else to do.”

Quiet Clean Seattle also concerns about the potential dangers gas-powered leaf brooms can pose to landscape maintenance workers. Gas leaf blowers can emit toxic fumes and can reach 100 decibels. One study showed that gas leaf blowers can emit toxic fumes for as long as an hour. Air pollution equivalent to 1,100 milesA 2016 Toyota Camry.

Advocates also claimed gas blowers adversely affected Latino landscape workers. According to The Bureau of Labor StatisticsHispanics/Latinos comprised approximately 47.1 percent of American landscape- and groundskeeping workers by 2021, whereas they make up only 18 percent overall.

While momentum is behind proponents of the gas leaf blower ban, since the legislation is nonbinding, it will be ultimately up to the Mayor’s Office to decide how or whether to implement it.

Guy Oron, Real Change’s staff reporter, is Guy Oron. Follow them on Twitter. @GuyOron.

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Seattle City Council approves plan to phase out gas leaf blowers| Sept. 21-27, 2022

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