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Up to $500 in vouchers for SLC lawn care equipment

Up to 0 in vouchers for SLC lawn care equipment

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Gasoline leaf blowers are small devices, but they produce a staggering amount of pollution on the Wasatch Front.

Run one of the two-stroke engine machines for one hour produces about as much pollution as driving a car from Salt Lake City to San Francisco, a journey of over 700 miles.

In order to combat this type of pollution, Salt Lake City is currently organizing its first city-run landscaping equipment exchange.

“Our city officials and Mayor Mendenhall really wanted to provide tools directly to residents, which is why we are running our own program this year,” said Sophia Nicholas, deputy director of the city’s sustainability department.

This week, residents can enter a lottery to recycle their gas-powered lawn mower, leaf blower or weed whacker and get vouchers for new, cleaner power tools.

“The overall goal of this program is to help improve air quality,” Nicholas said. “Gas-powered landscaping equipment is quite polluting, especially trimmers and leaf blowers.”

The city’s program budget is $250,000. The lottery opened to Salt Lake City residents Monday and is expected to continue through Sunday. Already, 200 people have applied, Nicholas said.

How the program works

Two types of people can enter. The first are those who want to trade in gas-powered lawn mowers, weed whackers or leaf blowers.

If chosen in the lottery, these residents can trade in their lawn mowers for a $300 voucher or ditch their energy-guzzling weed whacker/leaf blower for a $100 voucher.

“You can also combine your gear to get up to $500 in vouchers,” Nicholas said.

Residents will be able to trade in their gas equipment and redeem their vouchers at the Ace Hardware stores at 612 East 400 South and 477 North 300 West, or at the Home Depot location at 328 West 2100 South.

“It’s not first come, first served, it’s a lottery system,” Nicholas said. “So make sure you choose the provider that’s best for you.”

Those who do not have gas equipment to recycle can also enter the lottery. The program offers these residents a $150 voucher for an electric lawn mower and a $50 voucher for a grass trimmer/leaf blower.

According to Nicholas, applicants selected to be part of the program will be notified by May 17.

Reduce the pollution

In recent years, Salt Lake City has worked with the Utah Division of Air Quality on similar lawn care exchange programs. Currently, the DAQ offers a program for commercial lawn care businesses with credits of up to $3,000 for businesses that recycle gas-powered leaf blowers, trimmers and chainsaws.

Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, told ABC4.com earlier this year that pollutants from two-stroke engines are key contributors to ozone pollution that plagues the Wasatch Front during the hot summer months.

“They’re really producing large amounts of air pollution because of the work we’re doing with them, and there’s a great alternative: switching to electric equipment,” he said.

According to Department of Environmental Quality, pollution from lawn equipment contributes approximately 8 tons of volatile organic compounds per day to the Wasatch Front. That’s more than the combined emissions of all Great Salt Lake oil refiners combined.