Monday, June 27, 2011

Switching to a Manual Lawn Mower by Jakob Barry

Switching to a Manual Lawn Mower

Lawn mowers as we know them were introduced to the masses in the early 1800s and were powered by people or animals.

Eventually gasoline and electric versions made their way onto the market and the old style manual “reel” or push mowers got lost in junk yards or the dark corners of basements.

In retrospect the transition made sense since using gas or electric made everyone’s lives easier when it came to cutting large lawns or trying to mow over tall grass.

However, in recent years sheer practicality is bringing back the manual reel.
  • It costs less both to purchase and operate
  • The newer ones are easier to push than their manually oriented predecessors
  • There’s no running on empty (no need for fuel or electricity)
  • There’s little if any maintenance though wiping down blades preserves them
  • The extra push to cut the grass adds a little workout fever to the chore

Meanwhile, grounds for switching back to manual mowers or at least having one as an option can further be justified through two other very important issues: curbing pollution and personal safety.

Pollution

Did you know the level of emissions released over time by gasoline powered mowers for personal or commercial grounds maintenance can eventually equal what automobiles emit over hundreds of miles? Also, fumes or oil spills can poison grass or other plant life in the yard much like it harms vegetation along busy streets.

For these reasons and more the US Environmental Protection Agency has been setting new restrictions for small lawn equipment hoping to reduce the environmental impact. Still, next to wearing a gas mask the best way to not breathe in fumes while mowing the lawn is to use a manual mower.

Alternatively, noise is another type of pollution motor powered mowers cause. A gasoline or electric powered mower engine produces enough racket to affect our hearing and sour relationships with neighbors, especially if the lawn is mowed at the wrong time of day.

With a push mower it’s easy to listen to music and if necessary mow the lawn at six in the morning without making enemies.

Safety

Despite there being various sources calculating the annual amount of people injured in lawn mower accidents its clear those numbers are around 100,000 or higher, many children included. It’s also a fact that negligence is only part of the story as most of these accidents are related to the engine’s powering of high speed blades. In an instant they can cut up many hard substances sending pieces flying like shrapnel.

Electric models themselves have separate issues, as extension cords often get run over or tangled up causing damage to other things in the yard. With gas powered mowers the fuel is a hazard and homeowners have been known to throw out their back trying to start them up.

The bottom line: When it comes to safety there can be no compromising. That’s why although the powered mower is convenient and great for big jobs whenever possible the manual mower should be put to use.


Jakob Barry writes for Hometalk.com, a growing community of homeowners and contractors getting the most from their resources by sharing and monitoring projects together. He covers various eco-friendly home improvement topics including Green landscaping and lawn services.

10 comments :

  1. This was such an interesting post!! I think manual mowers are really cool. Lots of great information to think about here!!

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  2. it's funny, i've used a reel mower for 5 years and never understood why people would use any other type, as i think it's *easier* to push than the heavy awkward gas mowers. they're way lighter, and as long as you don't let it get too long, it does the same quality.

    FYI - Lowes even sells one with a grass catcher - i leave about half on the grass and use the catcher to put some of it in my composter.

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  3. Glad to hear the reel has worked for you, EcoGrrl. I say if you're going to push why not push for free instead of paying for electricity or gas!

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  4. This is a great idea, manual lawnmower. Good in many ways

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  5. Thanks for the article! I am going through a lawn mower crisis right now - last year I th0ught I'd be environmentally responsible & bought a pricy electric battery powered machine.
    Six weeks after the one-year warrenty on the battery expired, so did the battery. No problem - I can get a new battery for $160.
    My housemates are opposed to a pushmower because it's hard, but it seems to me, it's hard only if you're out of shape, and getting into shape has its own benefits. So (heartened by this post) I'll be looking for a pushmower. Thanks for the "push"!

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  6. http://annkschin.blogspot.com/2011/06/save-worldmy-world-tuesdayoutdoor-wed.html

    as we grow older, we don't have the energy to mow the lawn. We are down sizing to a smaller house.

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  7. Another aspect of life that has a devastating impact. I had never considered the humble lawnmower as being the demon portrayed here.

    Going to write a quick note on this...

    Watch my blog. (well, in 10 minutes, okay?)

    AV

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  8. Here's Argentum's post:

    http://eco-crap.blogspot.com/2011/06/is-your-lawnmowr-demon.html

    Excellent!

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