Mowing Down Pollution In 2012

Thirteenth annual lawnmower exchange is fourth biggest in event history

In what has become a San Diego County tradition and something of a visual spectacle, more than 500 people with their lawnmowers lined up in the early-morning hours of May 19 to take part in the 13th annual Mowing Down Pollution lawnmower exchange. Started by Supervisor Ron Roberts in 1990, the program is a clean air initiative focused on replacing inefficient gasoline powered lawnmowers with those that run on rechargeable batteries. The cumulative effects of the program will reduce by more than 32 tons this year the amount of pollutants in the air.


Oceanside resident JP Linek arrived about 2 a.m. to be first in line for the 13th annual mower exchange.


As is custom, Supervisor Roberts walks the line with a sample mower, meeting with participants and showing them how their new mower will operate.

Lining up as early as 2 a.m., 518 San Diegans that Saturday morning took advantage of this first come, first serve deal. They exchanged their gasoline mowers, and $99.99, for a top-of-the-line rechargeable Black & Decker CM1936, 36-volt, cordless mulching lawnmower that typically retails for about $399. First in line, having arrived at about 2 a.m., was JP Linek of Oceanside.

The 518 mowers exchange was the fourth most in the event history and brought to 6,457 the total distributed since 1990 launch.

To participate, mower owners had to prove residency in the County (including cities and unincorporated areas) with a utility bill or personal check that showed a County address. They also had to prove that their gas guzzling mowers were still operable.

As is custom, Supervisor Roberts walks the line with a sample mower, meeting with participants and showing them how their new mower will operate.Technicians with Evergreen Environmental Services checked each mower to make sure it was dry of fluids before tossing the machinery into dumpster-sized recycling bins that were hauled away when full. All of the old mowers will be turned into scrap; none will be resold.

The exchange began at 8 a.m. at the County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway. Only one lawnmower was offered per person and all mowers were required to have the appropriate parts attached to them.

Mowing Down Pollution is a collaborative effort overseen by the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District. Special thanks go out to the APCD and partners Evergreen Environmental Services, Home Depot and Black & Decker.

For more information on the county’s air pollution control efforts, visit or call (858) 586-2707.