Sustainable Saturday - The Leaf Blower vs. The Rake

According to the website, the first day of Fall (Autumn) is Wednesday September 22, 2010 at 11:09 PM ET . . . so I guess it is almost officially Fall.  That seems about right since High School & College football has begun, the leaves are starting to fall and there is an abundance of apples at our local Farmer's Market.

Some of my favorite things about Fall are the re-emergence of Fall meals (Chili, Stew and Pumpkin bread), making fresh Applesauce, Apple Cider and piles of Leaves for the kids to jump in!

At our house we have leaves.  And when I say we have leaves, we have a ton of them.  Not only do we have the leaves produced by the trees in our yard, we somehow manage to get many of the leaves from our surrounding neighbors.  I guess that is what you get when you live in a developed, 1960s neighborhood that is near the river and has lots of old growth trees.

We have made the choice at our house to go against the grain and not purchase a leaf blower.  Why?  Because of our concern for the environment and the confirmed fact that it takes longer with a leaf blower (I've borrowed one from a neighbor in the past and it actually took longer!).

From Wikipedia:

Emissions from gasoline-powered grounds-keeping equipment in general are a source of air pollution. [1] In the United States, US emission standards prescribe maximum emissions from small engines.

In addition to adverse health effects of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, and particulates generated by the gasoline-powered engines, leaf blowers pose problems related to significant amounts of dust that is introduced into the air by the powerful flow of air. Dust clouds caused by leaf blowers contain potentially harmful substances such as pesticides, mold, and animal fecal matter that may cause irritation, allergies, and disease.

There are currently twenty California cities that have banned leaf blowers, sometimes only within residential neighborhoods and usually targeting gasoline-powered equipment. Another 80 cities have ordinances on the books restricting either usage or noise level or both. Nationwide, three states, Arizona, Hawaii and New Jersey, have considered laws at the state level, and five other states have at least one city with a leaf blower ordinance.

Tacoma Park, Maryland - City Considers Ban of Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers  

How do we deal with all of our leaves?  With two adult rakes, two child size rakes and a large tarp.  We rake the leaves onto the tarp and haul them either to our 2 compost bins or out to the street where we have City pick up of leaves.  It is efficient and a lot of fun!

Don't have a compost pile or a City who does curbside pick up?   Here are a few ideas from planet
  1. Spread them over your lawn and let them decompose naturally.  Select an area of the lawn if you don't want them over the entire lawn.
  2. Frame them for a earth-friendly and inexpensive decoration.
  3. Make potpourri.
You can read more here:  planet - Don't Throw Leaves Away This Fall: 3 Ways to Use Them!

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