Rakes are Green and Leaf Blowers Should be Banned!

Rakes are far cheaper, more durable and release no emissions. A leaf blower is loud, polluting and dangerous to our health…they should be banned.


Autumn is on our doorstep.  As the leaves start to fall many of us will begin clearing our gardens and driveways.  Some people swear by leaf blowers.  And some people (like me) prefer the humble rake.  I want to show you why the rake is greener and why leaf blowers should be banned everywhere.

1. Leaf blowers are highly polluting:

Leaf blowers burn fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases.  A rake doesn’t.   In the U.S. alone leaf blowers emit 2.4 million metric tonnes of CO2. In other word, just in the U.S. 6.4 million barrels of oil are spent blowing leaves.  That is a stupid waste of energy.

2. Rakes are far cheaper:

You can buy a decent rake in the UK for less than £10.  It will be sturdy and durable.  Maybe you will need to replace a rake every 10 years or so.

A leaf blower will cost you much more.  To get a leaf blower that will do an adequate job, you will be looking at £70-100 mid range.  You could easily spend upwards of £200 for a top end model.

You could buy more rakes for the price of a mid-range leaf blower than you would need in your entire life.

3. Leaf blowers release harmful particulates into the atmosphere:

Most people don’t release just how dirty leaf blowers make the air quality.  Some toxic particulates include:

  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Nickel
  • Mercury

Those are just the toxic materials.  There will also be dust, faecal matter, pesticides, fungi, fertilisers and general dirt.

All these particulates are bad for our air quality and very bad for our children especially. Exposure to those toxic metals is known to damage children’s brain development, their kidneys and their central nervous systems.

Anybody that suffers from allergies, hay fever and asthma are badly affected by leaf blowers.

The problem is so bad that Camden Council and the University of London have banned their use.

4. Leaf blowers are loud…very loud.

A typical leaf blower runs at about 75 decibels. For the person using the leaf blower that jumps to 90db.  At 90db sustained exposure can result in hearing loss.

It is not only the operator that is affected by this noise pollution.

  • It creates stress and frustration
  • Reduces the accuracy of complex tasks
  • Disrupts sleep
  • Increases stress hormones (increases chance of cardiac disease)
  • Impairs children’s hearing, learning and behaviour

Contrast that to rake.  The only sounds cause by a rake is the gentle rustling of leaves.  That is sound I find quite relaxing, similar to waves lapping on a beach.


More reasons why the rake is far better than a leaf blower:

Most people buy a leaf blower because it will save them time.  But how much time does it actually save you?

Yes, a leaf blower will be much faster than raking by hand (about 50%).  But using a rake feels more connected, you are not impacting on the environment and you are getting some exercise.

I like the idea of spending some time on the weekend raking in peace.  It gets me outdoors and I enjoy that feeling when you can tell the season is changing.


Image: Don LaVange

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