SPUSD to Look at Using Earth Friendly Lawn Mowers

Councilman Michael Cacciotti said South Pasadena is creating "organic, pollution-free zones,'' and he would like to see the school board do the same.

City Councilman Michael Cacciotti brought a rather large prop to the South Pasadena Unified School District Governing Board meeting this week: a lawn mower.

Cacciotti represents the San Gabriel Valley on the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which includes some 2 million people. He would like to see the school district switch to cordless, electric lawnmowers. Superintendent Joel Shapiro said he would look into the matter.

Because lawn mowers are not held accountable to the stringent emissions regulations that motor-powered vehicles are, lawn mowers contribute to a large portion of pollution in the Los Angeles basin, Cacciotti said. He suggested to the board that using the more earth-friendly lawn maintenance equipment will lead to improved health of students, teachers, and anyone who lives near SPUSD properties, which are currently mowed with gas-powered machines.

Dan Mabe, owner and president of Woodland-Hills based Greenstation, who pointed out he liked seeing someone drive up to the board meeting in a Nissan Leaf, said the equipment that his company is developing rivals the battery chemistries in the battery management systems you see in today's electric cars.

In a You Tube video about Greenstation, a Santa Monica smog technician tested the Snapper gas mower head against the 2003 Lincoln Navigator. The SUV had a hydrocarbon reading of 85, while the gas-powered mower showed a reading of 1,269. 

As for the city, Cacciotti said offcials decided to start their greener landscaping at Garfield Park. That means no pesticide or insecticide and no gas and no oil. It's going to be an " organic, pollution-free zone,'' Cacciotti said. And he would like to see the same kind of zones on school district property. 

Patch Asks: What kind of lawn mower do you use?


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S. Ray March 30, 2013 at 09:42 PM
I'd like to know the amount of pollution and extra expense generated to recharge the batteries. Also, I'd be curious to know how much pollution is created in manufacturing the batteries. The popular Toyota Prius, for example, cannot be manufactured in the U.S. because making the batteries creates too much pollution. Those batteries have to be made in part in Canada and finished in China, where the pollution standards are low to non-existent. According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, a Prius, from the beginning of its manufacture to the end of its useful life, pollutes more than a Hummer over the same life span, but we tend only to look at the pollution created by operation, not manufacture and disposal. We are not getting the whole story here.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK March 31, 2013 at 12:37 AM
You seem to forget the way we used to mow lawns..we pushed them with body power. They were quiet and gave off no fumes. I recall pushing my dad's cast iron mower around...great work out. Maybe they could be a rage if we advertised them as cardio lawn mowers. i
Justanotheropinion March 31, 2013 at 05:32 AM
These mowers start at about $400 and go up. I will continue to use my corded electric mower, thank you.
DC April 01, 2013 at 09:34 PM
That would be amazing. Even more amazing would be to BAN the gasoline powered dirt aka "leaf" blowers like we tried to do already. And by the way, what's up with the plastic bags still being handed out at Pavillions. I guess it's the old saying "one step at a time".......
not Carl Peterson lll April 02, 2013 at 05:39 AM
Many things on both sides: Gas lawn mowers do tend to throw massive amounts in the air But what is the cost of the other? It actually causes more overall pollution to run a car on ethanol, and uses up corn when millions starve. What is the cost of the trade-off as s. ray asks. I have a chargeable lawnmower. But it can't cut overgrown areas, and runs out of energy on a large yard. Then the cat played with the key on a string, and ran away with it.....that was six months ago. I have a love hate with my electric. I love the low noise, e.z start, but hate the low power. And I kinda love the smell off gas fumes with the fresh cut grass.....the smell of summer.
Donna Evans (Editor) April 02, 2013 at 03:47 PM
@Robert I love your idea of pushing that as the "cardio mower!'' My grandpa had one of those. I remember it just left the grass everywhere. What did folks use to go back and pick up the piles? A rake and a pan? I can't remember. @Gittin - fresh cut grass used to totally smell like summer to me - until i moved here and people mow year round :-)
Dan Mabe April 03, 2013 at 02:22 PM
The mowers Mr. Cacciotti is reffering to are Commercial and as powerful as their gas counterparts. Ni-Cad and Lead Acid battery Chemistry's are harsh on the enviroment but lithium battery chemistry's contain no heavy metals and are considered the green battery for the industry.
Patrick Wright April 08, 2013 at 04:57 PM
According to a range of studies, an electric car leads to 35 to 60% less carbon dioxide pollution from electricity than the CO2 pollution from the oil of a conventional car with an internal combustion engine. In some areas, like many on the West Coast that rely largely on wind or hydro power, the emissions are significantly lower for EVs. As we retire more coal plants and bring cleaner sources of power online, the emissions from electric vehicle charging drop even further. Additionally, in some areas, night-time charging will increase the opportunity to take advantage of wind power -- another way to reduce emissions.Internal combustion engine vehicles use lead-acid batteries, and their recycle rate is about 98% in the US. Lithium and other materials in EV batteries are much more valuable than lean and will also be recycled. Finally, I find pretty laughable the idea that the Heritage Foundation is concerned about pollution. Kind of like how conservatives were really concerned about the sanitation of inner-city parks when Occupy was there.
Patrick Wright April 08, 2013 at 04:59 PM
I feel the same way. I have a corded electric mower and love it.
S. Ray April 11, 2013 at 05:05 AM
Patrick Wright, you totally miss my point. I was not talking about just the run time; I was talking cradle to grave for the entire machine. While you might find it amusing that the Heritage Foundation studied this issue, you do not have any data to rebut the study itself, which remains accurate. The manufacture, life, and death of a Prius pollutes more than the same process for a Hummer due to the overwhelming pollution created by the manufacture of the batteries.
not Carl Peterson lll April 11, 2013 at 05:14 AM
Yes S. Ray, exactly. I read about the polution and carbon use of electric cars from many different sources. So now you make me curious about lawnmowers.
not Carl Peterson lll April 11, 2013 at 07:12 AM
Because of the magic of the internet, every good and idiotic "news" story is available to read. But just a surface scratch looks like electric cars might not cut ones carbon footprint, but varies a lot. I really doubt the hummer uses less but..... Most of the articles that were either on the fence or fall on the side of electric, did not calculate the overall cycle of life of the car. The only good thing might be the NIMBY effect. Let them use coal for the energy elsewhere, and our air here is cleaner. The government subsidies by my very rough calculations are about $25,000 per vehicle. (Last paragraph of link) http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/03/11/Average-Electric-Car-Produces-More-Carbon-Than-Gas-Powered-Car These people say its $250,000 per Chevy volt. http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/16192 Why is it that everything done trying to alter the market, always costs taxpayers tons of money, and usually goes bankrupt? But whatever you believe about this, you can find some link supporting your view. I spent a couple of hundred hours researching global warming before my thoughts gelled on that issue. You have to go out of your comfort zone of information and research each point, and counter-point, and counter-counter point. Then read the actual raw reports....and it can go to infinity....... I have no solid opinion about the electric cars
Patrick Wright April 11, 2013 at 03:56 PM
The idea that battery production for hybrid cars creates massive pollution is myth based on the environmental impact of a Canadian nickel smelter in the 1970's. Only about 10% of the total life cycle cost of a vehicle is in its production. Since there is a global common price for oil, you can see that the relative CO2 consumption in production is already reflected in its price. The Heritage Foundation study was based on other Conservative "studies" that assumed the Prius lasted only 100,000 miles and had to be replaced three times during the life of one Hummer. For pure electric vehicles, even if the electricity is 100% from coal it has a lower CO2 footprint than any conventional IC vehicle. Also it is ridiculous to assert that everything the government does to influence the market is a failure. Every major technology of the 20th Century was developed with massive government subsidies. The oil industry is great example. Some really small subsidies to solar power and electric vehicles are not worth arguing over while $1T goes to banks that defrauded customers and another $1T to Iraq for access to cheap oil.
GenXsurvivor April 11, 2013 at 09:47 PM
I will laugh when we start seeing #cardiomowers "trending" on twitter and CNN. It's only a matter of time. lol
not Carl Peterson lll April 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Patrick, I have not quoted Heritage foundation. Please post links to support electric vs. gas cars and I will read them. Irag for oil...We import less now than before 2003. Iraq was more than willing to sell us more oil before 2003. If you add up total imported Iraq oil, we would never recoup costs of a risky invasion, http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/imports/companylevel/ "1Trillion to banks that defrauded customers"....well, when you say "defraud" in what part of this financial mess are you labeling fraud? I would be inclined to call out the government more. As we now have qe3 to infinity. It is the gov. and banks working together that will eventually collapse our FIAT currency.
not Carl Peterson lll April 12, 2013 at 07:00 AM
Patrick w. While we are widely off topic, let me re-touch the Iraq thing. If you want to speculate that the war was less than altruistic, you may want to visit the idea of Iraq deciding to take Euro's instead of the dollar. Much, much bigger implications, than just possible cheap oil. That pesky little dollar problem is now unfolding worldwide, and will not end until the inevitable collapse of the dollar
Patrick Wright April 12, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Here is an Argonne National Laboratory report with a detailed analysis of the total life-cycle emissions and energy use of various vehicle types. http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/378.PDF The assumed the following: conventional ICEV 24.8mpg Prius type hybrid HEV 39.7mpg They also assumed the life of all vehicles was 160,000 miles and that the batteries would have to be replaced once in the life of the vehicle -although in-practice this never happens. My Prius is on its original pack at 140,000 miles and still gets 44 mpg even without trying to conserve. On the other hand an H2 Hummer gets EPA mileage of 14mpg highway, not 24.8 like they assumed. Despite their bias against hybrid vehicles in their analysis the HEV wins on pretty much all accounts. This win is even greater if the model used an actual H2 Hummer at 14mpg and 6,400 lb curb weight against a Prius that gets its EPA mileage of 49mpg.
not Carl Peterson lll April 12, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Patrick, Thanks for the link. I will read up on it in the next day or two,
not Carl Peterson lll April 15, 2013 at 07:37 AM
Patrick I only read some of the report, but at first blush, it looks fair enough. So, now i know more than before, but not enough to comment anymore. You got my curiosity up. Eventually I will read more, including more of your link


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