Mowing Down Pollution In 2013

Fourteenth annual lawnmower exchange hits milestone

Hitting a milestone, the 7,000th gasoline-powered lawn mower in the 14 years of the Mowing Down Pollution campaign was exchanged for a rechargeable model on Saturday, May 11, as 587 Black & Decker 36 Volt mowers were handed out at Qualcomm Stadium.


Supervisor Roberts greets a customer about half-way down the line.


In this photo we are at about customer No. 400.

County residents began lining up at 3 a.m. for the chance to both clean local air and trade-in their old, gas powered lawn mowers for new, zero-emission models.

The price? The Black & Decker mowers, which normally retail for $400 or more, cost just $99.99, tax included, at the 14th annual “Mowing Down Pollution” trade-in.

The exchange opened for business at 8 a.m. and the last mower of the 2013 event was handed over about 10:30 a.m. Since 2000, the program has distributed 7,044 rechargeable mowers.

The May 11 exchange represented another great success for our environment. San Diegans have really shown over the years a willingness to do their own part to help clean our air.

Marian Armstrong of Oceanside certainly showed that willingness. She, along with Joe Herbert and Noe de Jesus of the College Area were the first to arrive, getting to the stadium at 3 a.m.

The trade-ins have made a real dent in air pollution, removing more than 22 tons of pollutants each year. Gas-powered machines emit an average of about 10 pounds of air pollution per year, said Robert Kard of the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District. The new, upgraded models emit zero pollution. Local air pollution fines and penalties lower the cost of the mowers.

Residents had to show photo IDs and prove county residency to exchange their mowers. One trade-in was allowed per household and old models had to be in working condition with all parts attached. Residents were asked to empty old mowers of oil and gas.

Qualcomm was being used because the traditional staging spot, the parking lots surrounding the downtown County Administration Center, are being converted into a waterfront park scheduled to open in late spring 2014.

This year’s exchange also included a display of electric vehicles provided by San Diego Gas & Electric. Maybe next year we will have a customer in an all-electric rechargeable car drive away with a new rechargeable lawn mower in the back.

Next year’s 15th annual Mowing Down Pollution mower exchange is set for Saturday, May 3, 2014.

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Each lawn mower being exchange was inspected
to make sure it had all its parts and was in working order.


Crews from Home Depot and Black & Decker steadily loaded mowers in three lines.


It is important, and fun, to show everyone in line the mower they will soon be receiving.


After a mower is inspected, the recyclers empty out any remaining fluids then toss them into large bins for later dismantling and recycling.