Letter from the Town Conservation Board
To the Editor
A pro-leafblower yard sign in Pound Ridge tells residents to Google a report written by a long-time opponent of renewable energy, who has spoken to a think tank that disputes the science of climate change.
A full-page ad in The Record Review opposing restrictions on gas-powered blowers contains misinformation and questionable opinions. I’d like to set the record straight.
The ad claims that electric blowers aren’t so green because of the environmental costs of making and disposing of their lithium batteries. The same arguments have long been used by opponents of electric cars. However, the E.P.A. and the Union of Concerned Scientists both say these claims are myths. Over its lifespan, the carbon footprint of an EV (and a battery leaf blower) is lower than a gas equivalent.
The ad also avoids the No. 1 issue: Noise. We are subjected to the noise of gas leaf blowers almost literally every day from March through Thanksgiving. It causes deep distress to a large number of residents. Reducing noise is a neighborly, community-spirited thing to do.
The ad asserts that battery leaf blowers aren’t up to the job because of their charging times and lack of power. But there is a fine alternative to so much industrial blowing: mulching your leaves when mowing in the fall. Mowers can be fitted with mulching blades and the exit chute of the mower closed. Your leaves will be chopped finely, and your lawn will look just as clean. By not blowing leaves into piles in the woods – the practice of most landscapers -- you will also reduce tick habitat.
Phased-in changes to the noise ordinance will give landscapers and landowners time to adapt. Landscapers who work in both Bedford and Pound Ridge will be following Bedford’s new laws anyway. The market for battery-powered landscaping equipment is growing three times faster than gasoline. Change is coming.