The 13th Annual Lawnmower Exchange Program Is Set For May 19

County residents invited to turn in gasoline powered mowers for top-of-the-line rechargeable electric model

The 13th annual Mowing Down Pollution Lawnmower Trade-in program is set for 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, at the County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway. (Next year's exchange will take place elsewhere due to construction of a park surrounding the CAC building.)


Supervisor Roberts walks the line of more than 600 people lined up with old mowers, chatting and showing off the model that will soon be theirs.


The rechargeable mower is being upgraded this year to the Black & Decker CM1936 mowers with 19-inch blades and 36 volt power systems.


After all the fluids have been removed, old mowers are lined up for dismantling and recycling.

Developed and hosted by Supervisor Ron Roberts, the event will feature the exchange of 650 gasoline lawnmowers for new, rechargeable battery-powered, Black & Decker CM1936 mowers with 19-inch blades and 36 volt power systems.

All residents of San Diego County with proper identification and a qualifying gasoline mower are eligible for this program. While the price of the new mower for the first 10 years was $149.99, this year it will be $99.99, just as it was the last two years, thanks to a special four-year bulk purchase agreement and funding from air pollution fines. The mowers retail for about $420.

The exchange process is simple. The event is first come, first served. Traditionally, county residents line up well before the 8 a.m. start time.

Once in line, a place card is distributed to each person who is present with a gas mower for trade-in. When the customer reaches the front of the line proof of his or her San Diego County residency is checked and their mower is then inspected to make sure it is in operable condition and contains all of its parts. Broken mowers or those missing pieces will be turned away. (This is an important detail that arises each year. Public funds can only be used to replace mowers that actually work and contribute to local air pollution.)

Following mower approval, the participant is given a voucher for a new mower. The person then walks over to the cashier to provide payment (cash or credit card only; no checks). After paying, the customer drives their vehicle into a staging line where the new mowers are loaded into vehicles, completing the process.

Due to the "Mowing Down Pollution" program's popularity, those who plan on participating should arrive at the County Administration Center well before 8 a.m. The atmosphere is fun, festive and unique, with snaking lines of mowers and people from across the county.

As a member of the California Air Resources Control Board since 1995, Supervisor Roberts is on the leading edge of cleaning up the air in San Diego County and across California.

Gasoline powered lawn mowers contribute to 5 percent of the nation's air pollution. At the conclusion of this year's event, the San Diego Air Pollution Control Board will have distributed 6,859 zero-emission mowers since the year 2000 start of the program. The benefit to the San Diego County Community is the elimination of more than 65,000 pounds per year of air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds and other emissions that are ozone precursors.

Mowing Down Pollution is making a difference in improving air quality and the quality of life for all of our citizens.