Mowing Down Emissions

556954_10151356543617433_2026357672_nWe were woken this morning by the sound of next door’s lawn mower. Saturday is mowing day, and the sound reminded me to make a post about our push lawn mower, pictured here with a pretty lady. It’s one of those that might have been common place about 40 years ago (the mower, not the ladies), but I reckon it should be making a comeback.

While I would prefer to grow food not lawns, up here in Mission Beach we have to take care of the garden and lawns for our landlord, so a mower was needed. We picked up this Flymo at an op-shop for around $10, and new they’re about $50. That’s all I should ever need to pay I imagine, save for a little greasing oil. Compare that to a petrol mower that requires fuel and servicing, while initially costing at least 5 times the price, and I’m already in front. So on just a cost analysis, why not take push mower?

I’m guessing the lawn covers about 100 square metres, perhaps more, but we get this done in roughly the same time as a petrol mower would do it – as long as we keep it regularly cut. For small areas, by which I mean anything less than acres, it’s perfectly matched.

Then there’s the emissions (not accounting for production, but either a petrol or a push has this factored in) – mine are zero for lawn mowing, what about yours? Oh, but it’s minimal compared to a car I hear you say. So why not make it zero, why not make the small changes that we can? Ride a bike to work, get a push mower. No stinky petrol fumes either!

Now, change is scary I know, but the reason is usually because we don’t know what to expect. So here’s everything one needs to know about he function of a push mower

– it cuts grass by rotating 5 curved blades onto a stationary blade like scissors, the rotation is connected to the wheels. The cutting blade height is adjustable. The only downside here is if the wheel stops (ie hits a stone or soft sand) then the blades stop. Otherwise a simple and genius piece of design.

– it makes noise. But so does a petrol mower, a push mower just makes a different noise (scissors-type sound magnified a few times). It’s no louder than a petrol mower but I’m still looking forward to the first time a neighbour comes past and asks me to stop, what a contest that will be!

– it is better with certain types of grasses. There are about 4 or 5 in our lawned areas, and it performs best on the low running ones, next best on the wispy bunchy ones, and worst on the single clumped tall ones. Nevertheless, it still cuts all of them.

– it doesn’t get right up to the edges, but a petrol mower doesn’t do a great job of that either. That’s what trimmers are for (and you can get rechargeable battery ones of them too).

– there’s no catcher, so grass flies around everywhere when cutting, but my opinion is it’s probably best left to sit where it lands anyways. This causes some issue with grass getting wound around the turning axle, but it’s as much trouble to remove as the underside of a petrol one. If you want to collect the clippings, then use given the small areas we’re talking about a rake would be fine.

– you have to push it, but not much more than you would a pram or shopping trolley. The only snag is when the wheel hits a stone etc it will stop rather than roll over it, but you know, keep your lawns (Jimi Hendrix style) stone free, and you’ve got yourself some good exercise.

I can’t stress enough how simple these things are to use, and how simple and effective a change it is to make. Buy one of these, trial it, then sell your old mower and invest the profits in a case of wine.

Small Habit Change – Trade in the petrol mower for push mower.


3 thoughts on “Mowing Down Emissions

  1. Have to disagree Schurn dog. I bought a new one when we first bought our house. Worst decision I ever made. Had to roll over the same patches over and over again. Mowing the backyard took about 3 times as long as a powered mower, and it simply wouldn’t cut the type of grass growing in the front yard.

    Gave it away and bought a rechargeable electric mower – MUCH BETTER!

    • My only thinking about why one of these mowers would be less good is exactly the situation you describe, and I mentioned that it seemed to do some of our grasses better than others. Maybe it’s the broad leafed grasses a push mowers is good for, rather than the fine ones….Any idea what grass you have? Also, rechargeable electric, nice one. Tell me more, I assume it’s not as powerful as petrol, but then neither is a push mower.

      • Yeah, exactly right – front lawn = fined leaf and much denser. Back yard was a mish mash of every variety of lawn + weeds known to man.
        Got a Bosch Rotak, cordless electric with rechargeable Li battery:

        Ruined my emissions karma by importing it from Scotland, where they had models not available in Oz, and it was still about half the Australian price of the cheaper models (including shipping). Mows very well. Probably not quite as powerful as petrol, but that’s a small price to pay for no fumes, noise, oil or regular servicing. Is also very lightweight so easy to carry / maneuvre.

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