Since 2006, SCAQMD has hosted an annual Leaf Blower exchange to replace older blowers having dirty 2-stroke engines with cleaner and more powerful 4-stroke blowers that are 75% cleaner and 65% quieter.
Much like the SCAQMD’s popular lawnmower exchange program for residential mowers, commercial landscape contractors and municipal facility staff can trade in their noisy, smoke-belching blowers and receive a substantial discount on a new Stihl BR500 model that retails at around $500. With the exchange, participants pay only $200 for the new model.
The old blowers are collected and the engines are scrapped. Since the program began in 2006, 12,000 old leaf blowers have been replaced, reducing 138,729 pounds of hydrocarbon and NOx emissions per year. In addition to the gasoline powered BR500 model, SCAQMD is also offering two battery operated models. The STIHL BGA85, for $200, is a hand-held blower that operates for up to 23 minutes on one charge, and has quick-change batteries for easy and continuous use. The BGA100 is a backpack battery-electric model which can operate for up to five hours on a charge. It will be available for $600 with trade-in of a working commercial leaf blower compared to its retail price of $1419 with the battery.
School districts, college and local governments also are encouraged to take advantage of this program. Not only are these clean air leaf blowers better for public health, these quiet models can also reduce student distraction on school campuses, help hotels and resorts improve their ambiance, and enable hospital patients to rest in more peaceful environments.
Registration for the 2016 Leaf Blower Exchange program will be open on February 23. Plans are underway to host 20 events in March throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Those interested should add their name to the “Leaf Blower” list at aqmd.gov/sign-up to receive notices of upcoming events.
Contact Vasken Yardemian at [email protected] or (909) 396-3296 for more information on the Leaf Blower Exchange program.