Did you know, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, gas-powered lawn mowers contribute 5 percent of the country’s air pollution? “Each weekend about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants.” That’s shocking. Also, according to the EPA, “A new gas-powered lawn mower produces volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides emissions air pollution in one hour of operation as 11 new cars each being driven for one hour.”

Wow. I must admit, I rarely considered air pollution while mowing. In this high mountain desert I think about responsible water usage far more. However, quickly after learning this fact (combined with the other fact that our current lawn equipment is sub-par) my husband and I traded out our gas-powered mower and weed whacker for greener solutions.

We swapped the mower, which I bought at a yard sale five years ago, for a Fiskars Reel Mower. It is far easier to push than I thought, and it makes little to no noise. It’s delightful to finish mowing without the discomfort of ringing ears and smelly clothes. Also our dog doesn’t bark at it. It’s a win all around.

We swapped out our two-cycle weed whacker – which never seemed to want to work anyway – for an electric Ryobi whacker. I was skeptical about the electric. I feared it would come with an obnoxious cord. But no, it’s a rechargeable battery pack and the same exact battery we have in all of our power tools.

For those of you who have never met my husband, André, he is obsessed with the color green. If it comes in green, he buys it. Bikes, trucks, dirt bikes, tools. All green. So obviously, we’re a Ryobi family.

We’re pretty excited about our new lawn equipment. So excited, in fact, that after we mowed our yard we called our neighbor and asked if we could mow hers. She laughed and said she would love it. Once we finished – complete with some edge trimming – she was pretty impressed.

At the McWilkins house, we try to be “conscious consumers.” In recent months we’ve taken large strides to reduce our waste consumption. We remember our reusable grocery bags 90 percent of the time now. We also take less plastic from stores and try to bring our own mugs for coffee.

We are conscious with our water usage; we water on the odd days, and always in the morning or the evening. As part of our water consciousness, we did a lot of xeriscaping to our yard. We exchanged our grass side-yard for decorative rocks last year. Two years ago we landscaped our entire dirt backyard with about 13 tons of rock and a small patch of grass.

We are also trying diligently to refuse straws, but it is harder than I think it should be. I need to get it tattooed on my hand, “Think of the mermaids.”

Want to learn more about our lawn equipment? Care for a demonstration? Let me know!