On Saturday, April 27 2019, Damon Ashcroft and I had the opportunity to volunteer as representatives of the Sustainable Mountain Development club at Utah Counties Lawn Mower Exchange. Over 300 citizens of Utah County came to Utah Valley University (UVU) to exchange their gas powered lawn mower or weed wacker for a significant (roughly 60%) discount on a new electric tool. The event was organized by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and hosted by UVU, through the coordinated efforts of the Sustainability Committee. The exchange took the coordinated efforts of not only the sustainability committee, but UVU’s facilities and parking departments, as well as provided volunteer opportunities for students and members of the community.
This event was crucial because the average gas-powered lawn mower produces as much carbon pollution in one hour of use as an average 2011 model sedan produces driving the distance of 80-100 miles. This means that once each of the new electric motors have been used for one hour, they will have prevented the pollution of roughly 20,500 lbs of carbon pollution. This is a crucial step forward in the efforts to create a more sustainable Utah County, especially considering the unique air quality issues faced in the mountainous area. Events like these are also important because many of the culprits to poor air quality are unregulatable things, like lawn mowers, and thus require individual action in order to reduce their impact on the areas air quality and sustainability as a whole.
Kyler Pigott, President, SMD club at UVU