In 2008, Rye passed a leaf blower ordinance that bans the use of gas and electric leaf blowers on private properties from May 1 through September 30. Those who break the law are subject to a $250 fine.
By The Rye Garden Club Conservation Committee
In 2008, Rye passed a leaf blower ordinance that bans the use of gas and electric leaf blowers on private properties from May 1 through September 30. Those who break the law are subject to a $250 fine. The person operating the blower is responsible. If you employ a service to look after your lawn, you need to ensure they know and follow the law.
In the four years since our City’s law was passed, many other municipalities in Westchester and beyond have followed suit. There are numerous reasons why this law should be respected and enforced.
Gas-Powered Blowers Are Big Polluters
Most gas blowers operate with a two-stroke engine, which are not subject to environmental regulations and are inefficient and dirty. The typical two-stroke engine blows 30% of the fuel it uses out in its exhaust. This is a huge waste of fossil fuel and a terrible contributor to air pollution.
Particulate Matter in our Air
We all should steer clear of the particles of grit that leaf blowers put into the air. Electric and gas-powered blowers stir up the top layer of soil, suspending pesticides, chemicals, fertilizer, and fungi in the air we breathe. The street dust blown up includes lead and organic and elemental carbon.
Harmful to Plants
Blowers blow away mulch and natural compost, the nutrients and protection that plants need. Blasts of air from blowers kill new growth on plants. Also, many plants react to blowing as they would to hurricane force winds and growth is slowed. Blowers reactivate disease spores in soil by blowing them onto plants.
The standard gas blower at 50 feet away emits noise measuring 70-75 decibels. The noise is amplified when more than one blower is used, when the blower is used simultaneously with other equipment and the closer you are to the machine. The EPA defines a comfortable outdoor noise level to be 55 decibels. We are exposing ourselves to harmful noise.
The dates of the Rye’s seasonal ban start after spring cleanup and before fall gets really messy. During summer, glass clippings should be left on the grass after mowing as a free and nutrient-rich fertilizer. Use a broom on hardscapes, and remember that outdoor space is not meant to look pristine and overly tidy.
If you see leaf blowers being used during the ban, report the violation to the police at 967-1234. Help enforce this ban that promotes clean air and a healthier environment.