Mowing Down Pollution

San Diego County Mows Down Pollution 12 years in a row

County residents by the hundreds line up on Saturday, April 23, for the opportunity to buy a new electric lawnmower for the bargain rate of only $99.99 and help mow down pollution at the same time. All they had to do was trade-in their old gasoline-powered lawnmower at County Supervisor Ron Roberts' 12th annual Lawnmower Trade-In Event and they could take home a new Black & Decker CMM 1200, 24-volt, cordless mulching lawnmower. The model usually costs $399. Lining up as early as 8 p.m. Friday, 752 San Diegans took advantage of the first come, first serve deal.

"The average gasoline-powered lawnmower spews out 40 times more pollution than a late model car," said Supervisor Ron Roberts. "Since the annual lawnmower trade-in event started in 2000, it has distributed 5,939 zero-emission lawnmowers and taken more than 22 tons per year of volatile organic compounds out of the air."

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.

The event started at 8 a.m. at the County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway, but residents who wanted to take advantage of this offer were in line in the wee hours of the morning. Only one lawnmower was offered per person and all mowers were required to have the appropriate parts attached to them. The mowers were inspected and fuel was made available at the event to test the machines for operability.

The Lawnmower Exchange is a team event and special thanks go out to our APCD staff, the recycling crew from Evergreen Environmental Services, Home Depot and Black & Decker. New this year was the participation of the Ben & Jerry ice cream shop in Seaport Village which handed everyone in line a coupon for a free sample.

For more information, visit , the County Air Pollution Control District’s website at or call (858) 586-2707.


Supervisor Roberts wheeled a working version of the new power along the entire line to show those waiting what was soon going to be loaded into their vehicle.


The Evergreen Environmental Team removed the gasoline and oil for every mower before throwing it into a bin for recycling.


Throughout the morning, dozens of exchanged mowers would be backed up, awaiting inspection and recycling.