Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Durham Hosts “Get Your Grass Off Gas” Event on June 15

Durham residents looking to trade in their old gas-guzzling mowers and other yard equipment should mark their calendars now for two events providing steep discounts on cleaner and greener electric versions.

The Durham City-County Sustainability Office is partnering with Black & Decker® to host the 3rd Annual “Get Your Grass Off Gas” events. At these two events, residents can purchase discounted electric yard and garden equipment to help get polluting gasoline-powered equipment “off the grass” and into the recycling bin. Discounts will range from 20 to 45 percent off depending on the model. Equipment available includes lawnmowers, trimmers, edgers, blowers, vacuums, and loppers. People who do not have older equipment to trade in can still purchase electric models at the events, but with a smaller discount.

Residents can stop by the Durham County Memorial Stadium, 750 Stadium Dr., on Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., or Jordan High School, 6806 Garrett Rd., on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to recycle their old gas equipment and purchase new, discounted electric equipment. Both events will be held rain or shine.

According to Tobin Freid, manager of the Durham City-County Sustainability Office, small engines from gas-powered lawn equipment are actually big polluters of the air. “Most people do not associate air pollution with mowing the lawn, yet emissions from gasoline-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, and similar outdoor power equipment are a significant source of pollution,” Freid said. “The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that using a standard gas-powered lawn mower for one hour produces as much smog-forming pollution as driving an average car almost 200 miles.”

New manufacturing rules began to address such pollution sources in 2011 and 2012 models. However, older equipment still in use in just about every yard in Durham emits high levels of carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. “Not only do these small engines emit this toxic gas, they also emit tiny particles that cause lung and heart problems, as well as hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which are pollutants that contribute to the formation of ozone and smog,” Freid said. “Ground-level ozone is a pollutant that irritates lungs and can affect breathing. Gas-powered yard equipment users inadvertently contribute to the problem by carelessly handling fuel and by not maintaining their equipment properly.”

Residents who want to make a difference in Durham’s air quality and take advantage of these opportunities to purchase cleaner equipment should visit for more information on models and prices and to pre-register to reserve specific electric equipment. Pre-registration is not required, however event organizers cannot guarantee a particular model will be available on either day without pre-registration.

All gas-powered equipment brought in to recycle at either event must be drained of fluids before being dropped off. Used motor oil can be dropped off at the City of Durham’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center (Transfer Station), located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon.
Assisting residents in switching from polluting equipment to cleaner equipment aligns with the Environmental Stewardship Goals in the City of Durham and County of Durham Strategic Plans as well as the City-County Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan.

For more information about either of these trade-in events, contact Freid at (919) 560-7999 or by email at
Residents may also learn more by liking the Durham City-County Sustainability Office’s Facebook page at or by following Greener Durham on Twitter @Greener Durham.
For more information about Black & Decker, visit

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