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Leaf-Blowers: Net Negative

Leaf-Blowers: Net Negative - Limit Their Use?

I'm considering launching a campaign to limit or eliminate the use of leaf-blowers.  Here's why:

Every week, gardeners at our neighboring houses use their leaf-blowers to gather and move leaves and related debris from our neighbors' yards.  However, a good portion of the detritus is never picked-up, but is simply blown out into the street – where the breeze blows it into OTHER yards – or directly from one yard into another.

Net result?

- No detritus removed

- Noise pollution, without any positive balance.

- Gasoline engine pollution (many are 2-stroke engines, very inefficient and highly carbon producing)

- Dust, pollen and other debris blown into the air

Perhaps we’d be better off severely restricting their use.  Who else feels this same way?

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Steve Hayes June 09, 2011 at 07:52 PM
I think you should offer a more balanced view. Many Belmont residents have nicely landscaped yards which require substantial effort to maintain. If you remove all of the power equipment (blowers, mowers and trimmers) either the neighborhoods will look worse or the maintenance cost will go up. I like the way my neighbors yards look. It seems a little unreasonable for someone with no landscaping to try to impose higher costs on others who contribute to making the neigborhoods look more appealing. If you do not pick up the debris, the detritus will still be there - only more of it. I see the gardeners picking up most of leaves they blow - at least 90%. I believe the wind in Belmont causes much more pollen and dust to blow in the air than leaf blowers do - perhaps you should launch a campaign to ban the wind. In the past, more people used water to clean walkways and driveways. So there really is a trade off - wasting a lot of water or living with a little noise. I am not sure which is better. Disclosure- I use my leaf blower about a dozen times a year although my neighbors have gardeners and they blow once a week. Leaf blowing does not bother me at all.
Tim Hoffman June 09, 2011 at 10:44 PM
After the Belmont City Council soon votes on its proposed ban on plastic grocery bags and styrofoam food containers, it should be available and champing at the bit to entertain yet another ban of dubious benefit on some other useful product or convenient way of getting things done. So, sure, look into that! I'd have saved the snark and joked about not giving the Council any ideas, but they're Patch readers and likely already have read this and got it calendared for a vote. Sorry, Peter, but not with you on this one.
Courtney Carreras June 10, 2011 at 12:16 AM
I agree with Peter. Hate the noise and the pollution generated by the leaf blowers.
andrei June 10, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Good luck finding a gardener, if the ban is in place. Funny how people who never clean their yard come up with "grand" ideas.
DanC June 11, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Everyone knows: The people who complain about the noise and nuisance of leaf blowers and the litany of technical complaints as above are not REALLY complaining about those things but about WHO are operating the leaf blowers. To Chris Yonts above: If you are so concerned about the gardening services that your neighbors use, complain to them (who don't share your xenophobia).
DanC June 14, 2011 at 05:26 AM
Yeah, I've read the BofR. Leaf blowing is covered by the 1st Amendment, the freedom of expression. Shove those ear plugs in your ears and don't look out the window when they're blowing leaves and dust from your neighbor's yard to yours.
Jim B January 24, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Rather than outright ban the blowers, I would like to see a limit placed on the time duration that they are used, based on the size of the property. I have witnessed gardeners take 45 minutes or more to blow-off all the debris from a small residential property - which is way too long. They go around the property and retrace their steps several times until they collect all the debris into a single pile that they can conveniently pick up and place into the bed of their truck. They spend way too much time and it is innefficient the way they do it, like they have no common sense. The operators should take a class from UC Master Gardeners and get a certificate to show that they are capable and competent to use a leaf blower before they are allowed to operate the equipment in residential areas.
Billy T July 03, 2013 at 12:22 PM
A leaf blower ban doesn't have to be full. Palo Alto only bans *gasoline* leaf blowers, which are significantly louder than their electric-only counterparts. Also, if we limit leaf blowing to the hours of 11:00am and 9:00pm, we can be more sure its not waking people up in the morning (some people don't have the same 9-5 schedule "normal" people do).

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