Good for humans and the economy or good for the planet. This is a false binary.
We cannot build systems that are considered suitable for humanity and the economy if they do not consider the planet we inhabit. Colonizing Mars is great and all, but……
Let’s break down 2-cycle for a minute.
Edmonds performed a controlled study comparing the emissions from a Ford F150 Raptor and a 2-cycle backpack blower. This test isn’t just a monitor in the tailpipe. It mimics real-world conditions and can take 24 hours per vehicle to complete. It’s extensive (the name of the test is the FTP 75 cycle).
This test showed that the leaf blower polluted 23X more than the Ford truck!
Actually, 23X the CO2 and nearly 300X the NMHC (nonmethane hydrocarbons).
Let’s pause here a minute. This is a 411 horsepower, 6200-pound sport truck, and we would have to drive it 3,877 miles to equal ½ hour’s use of a backpack blower.
We could drive from Northern Texas to Alaska for the same emissions as blowing leaves off of a parking lot!
What about the coal that powers most of the U.S. electrical Grid?
Good point. We are far from a functioning power system that considers the limits of the biosphere, but we can have a profound impact by altering our practices nonetheless.
University of Arkansas’s Office for Sustainability performed a study of the carbon and financial impacts of various 2cycle and electric landscape maintenance tools. This report further elaborates on the intersection of emissions, economic consequences, and human health mentioned earlier in this article.
Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.
The electric technology is here. Cost analysis, after cost analysis, shows that the reduction in fuel purchases will pay for most upgrades to electric in 2-5 years, depending.
You will need to develop new strategies for battery management. Wall-mounted chargers, investment in batteries, solar panels (depending) on truck cabs, and chord reels so you can quickly plugin at work sites, lunch spots, etc. critical to make this easy.
Since manufacturers have chosen to make batteries proprietary, you will likely need to stick with a line for convenience. I am fond of Makita’s blower but am still testing its multiheaded devices. Husqvarna has been stepping up their game for a few years now and worth looking into. EGO has some great products, but their line is limited, so you won’t have the advantage of using your same batteries for drills.
Make the switch
2-cycle doesn’t hold up environmentally, financially, or for direct human health.
It’s actually pretty easy, and using these tools is so much easier on the body. They are lighter, more powerful, lighter, and don’t put toxic fumes right near your face.