Stihl last week announced its participation in this year’s leaf blower exchange program sponsored by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). For the second year in a row, more than 1,500 old, highly polluting backpack leaf blowers will be exchanged for emissions-friendly, quieter models manufactured by Stihl. The program is designed to help protect residents’ and gardeners’ health by reducing harmful emissions.
AQMD will offer a monetary incentive for every leaf blower exchanged, allowing gardeners to purchase a new, low-polluting blower valued at $470 for just $200.
AQMD’s leaf blower exchange program is modeled on the agency’s highly successful residential lawn mower exchange program. Since 2003, AQMD has exchanged more than 16,000 highly polluting gas-powered mowers for zero-emitting electric models. AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
In one year, the average blower emits as much pollution as 80 new cars, each driven 12,500 miles. In contrast, the Stihl models are nearly four times cleaner than the California Air Resources Board’s standard for new blowers.
To qualify for the leaf blower exchange,participants must pre-register by calling (888) 425-6247. The program is open to professional gardeners and landscapers who live and work in AQMD’s four-county jurisdiction. Each gardening and landscaping business may exchange up to 10 blowers.