Northeast Ohio gas lawnmower rebate programs provide incentives for switching to electric
Northeast Ohio residents can once again earn a $100 Visa gift card by switching from gas lawnmowers to electric mowers in an effort to improve air quality.
Participating air quality agencies, including the Cleveland Department of Public Health's Division of Air Quality and the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District, are once again offering rebates for those who scrap their gas lawnmowers and replace them with battery-operated, cordless, electric mowers.
"When you are using [an electric mower], you don't have that combustion of fossil fuels in place," Chief of Air Pollution Outreach for the Cleveland Division of Air Quality, Christina Yoka said. "So overall, you're not putting that that air pollution right in your neighborhood."
Interested Cuyahoga County residents and businesses can start by registering for the program.
After receiving the confirmation email, residents should purchase their electric mower and dispose of their gas mower at a participating scrap yard to ensure they are taken out of service.
Then residents must submit proof of both disposal for the gas lawnmower and purchase of the electric mower in order to receive the rebate.
This year, Cuyahoga County residents can also register to win a new electric mower. The sign-up period begins Friday and ends Feb. 12.
Last year, Yoka said most residents who chose not to apply for the rebate either didn't own a gas mower, or didn't want to get rid of their mower.
"So we're just trying to be very abundantly clear this year that that is a program requirement," she said.
Gas lawnmowers, and other gas-powered, off-road equipment like weedwhackers and leaf blowers, can increase ground-level ozone concentrations, Yoka said.
"The reason being is that these types of engines have very few emissions controls on them," she said. "So. they're producing high levels of volatile organic compounds and high levels of nitrogen oxides."
Though the engines in off-road equipment tend to be smaller than a car engine, cars have more emission controls to filter out more of the air pollution before it enters the atmosphere, Yoka said.
"So, even though the small equipment are smaller,
and [it] might seem like they are producing fewer emissions," she said, "because of the fewer emission control devices that are on them, that means they're producing large quantities of air pollution."
In 2021, the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium released a study with recommendations for limiting air pollution in municipalities that did not meet 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency brought together a working group of local air quality agencies to develop a plan based on the recommendations in the report, Yoka said.
Last year, the Cleveland Department of Public Health's lawnmower rebate program removed 162 gas-powered mowers from service, preventing approximately 7 tons of pollution from entering the atmosphere.
By eliminating gas lawnmowers, the program reduced the levels of hydrocarbons, like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, that can lead to dizziness, nausea and worsen conditions for those with respiratory illnesses like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"When you breathe these types of air pollution," Yoka said, "they're going to aggravate your lungs and it's going to make [it] a lot more difficult for you to... manage your health condition."
This year, the department has tripled the number of rebates available to approximately 480, Yoka said.
Though resources have tripled, the department recommends residents and businesses register early to reserve a rebate.
Registration for residents of Medina, Portage and Summit counties opens March 20. Registration will be open only to residential households.