A gift from Montgomery Country (that many have been asking for!)

December 24, 2023 – Lynda DeWitt

When I stated Solar Mowing way back in 2009, I figured I had five good years before big companies would move into the emission-free lawn care space and knock me out. But 14 years later, in early 2023, when we combined forces to launch Sust, gas still ruled the industry.

Sust uses only battery-powered leaf blowers, such as this backpack blower, and human-powered rakes.

The movement toward clean, quiet equipment has been painfully slow in our area, despite the efforts of many individuals and groups, including Quiet Communities, MoCo360, and Maryland PIRG Foundation.

Then, on January 1, 2022, a gas leaf blower ban went into effect in Washington, DC. Several other local

municipalities — Somerset, Chevy Chase Village and the town of Chevy Chase — also issued bans around the same time.

And this past October, Montgomery County, MD, signed into law its own ban! (We hoped the lawn care industry had made the switch on its own — slowly over time — making this law unnecessary, but policy will accelerate this process.) The new law will prohibit the sale of all gas-powered leaf blowers starting July 1, 2024; the use of gas blowers will be prohibited starting July 1, 2025.

“I was excited to see Montgomery County ban on the sale and use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers,” wrote MD state Delegate Linda Foley (District 15) in an email. “These devices not only spew pollutants throughout our neighborhoods, their loud, low-frequency roar causes harm to pollinators, pets, and even young children with sensitive hearing.”

Fines will be the main enforcement mechanism ($500 for a first offense, and $750 for repeat offenses), but council members said the first several months of enforcement will focus mostly on education about the ban, and that fines would not be issued right away.

The County Council is also helping the transition by putting together a rebate program to partially offset the cost of replacing a gas-powered leaf blower or leaf vacuum with an electric blower or vacuum. The rebate offer will likely run from July 1, 2024, through December 31, 2026.

“I hope that a ban in the state’s largest county will help lead the way to reducing the use and eventually getting rid of all gas-powered leaf blowers in Maryland,” continued Del. Foley. “In 2024, I intend to sponsor two bills that will begin to address the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers.”

We are excited to see the momentum continue. 




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