Think about all of the lawns that you drove past on your way to and from work this morning. Did you glance over while stuck in traffic and think to yourself how attractive and lush they looked? There can be no denying that the homeowners has put in quite a bit of maintenance to achieve this appearance. The environmental impact of using a lawnmower for regular maintenance probably would have never crossed your mind - grass is a natural thing, so how could it have any sort of negative impact?
Well, you got one thing right. Grass is a naturally occurring growth. What you got wrong, however, is that the maintenance undertaken on it by homeowners involves the use of products (including pesticides, fertilizers and your trusty lawnmower) that are harmful to the environment. But what sorts of problems and risk does your mower pose?
Research has suggested that the humble lawnmower contributes to somewhere between 5.2 and 11.6% of the carbon dioxide emissions for an area that is around the size of Geelong in Victoria or Newcastle in New South Wales.
Overseas research has also suggested that gas-powered lawnmowers emit the same amount of pollution in a single hour of use that a car would if it were driven for around 160 kilometres.
It has been estimated that over 64 million litres of fuel are spilled each year when homeowners are filling their lawnmower tanks, which leads to both water and air contamination.
As well as carbon dioxide, it has also been discovered that lawnmowers release other harmful toxins into the air, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides.
What does this mean for you, as a homeowner who desires nothing more than a lush, well-manicured lawn? Well, instead of using your potentially harmful lawnmower, you could instead opt for an imported model, as some countries (such as America, Canada and many in Europe) require their mowers to meet emissions standards. You could also invest in an electrical lawnmower, which are increasing in popularity, or lay synthetic grass on your property, which doesn't require any harmful maintenance at all.
It is hoped that, sometime in the future, scientists will be able to create lawnmowers that are more environmentally friendly but, until then, we will just have to make do with what we've got. If you are worried about the environmental impact that your lawnmower is having on the environment, begin looking into your other options.