Wondering if leaf vacuums and leaf blowers are harmful to the environment? Then you are absolutely right here! An idyllic autumn morning: the fresh wind whistles through the avenue, the colorful leaves sail from the trees and it rustles wonderfully when you stroll along the footpath. But then the natural soundscape is suddenly broken by the howling of the "leaf removers with combustion engines" that have come in for criticism. They are not really that popular - but still owned by countless people and companies. And what about their sustainability?
In this article, I would now like to introduce you to 10 disadvantages of leaf blowers and vacuums that make them harmful companions. Both for people, and for animals and the environment in general. Let's go!
In advance here is already a short Overview for you:
- Animals lose their protection
- The food of animals is contaminated
- Odor nuisance
- Animals are sucked up and shredded
- Increasing air pollution
- Prevention of humus formation
- Danger of drying of soils
- The devices are expensive
- No need
1. leaf blowers are sound blowers
Let's start with the most obvious: leaf blowers are extremely noisy and disturb the peace and recreation of people and animals in the area. According to the BUND Nature Conservation in Bavaria e.V. produce a sound level of over 100 decibelswhich is roughly equivalent to the sound of a jackhammer.₁
The Federal Immission Control Act therefore even prescribes that the devices are used only on weekdays from 9 am - 1 pm and from 3 pm - 5 pm. There are some special regulations and exceptions, but basically this law should clarify how unpleasantly loud leaf blowers are.
2. leaf blowers destroy the shelter of ANIMALS.
Many people may be bothered by the "messy" sight of leaves on a green lawn or driveway - but for dozens of animals, it serves as a Protection against cold or from predators essential for survival. Hedgehogs, toads, newts, shrews, spiders, ladybugs, caterpillars, moths, and countless other microorganisms need it.₂ That's another reason why you should do without the appropriate equipment and leave the leaves in the sense of a sustainable garden just leave it on the grass.
3. leaf blowers deprive animals of their food
Among other things, the animals just mentioned feed on the leaves and everything that is hidden under them. From nuts, through branches and plant parts to the components of the top layer of soil.. Those who use leaf vacuums inevitably destroy the source of food and survival for countless animals at an inopportune time before winter dormancy.
4. leaf blower stink
The engine of conventional leaf blowers and vacuums burns gasoline and oil. No wonder, then, that in addition to noise, the Odor nuisance in the immediate vicinity and especially for the user himself is one of the absolute disadvantages of the devices. Yet another crucial reason that leaf blowers are harmful to the environment.
5. leaf vacuums suck up animals and SChred them
Why still ban leaf vacuums or simply do without them? Because inside they are not only the leaves, but also shred many insects and other animals, which stay in the foliage. But what about the blowers, they are better, aren't they? They too simply blow away and kill the many small animals, larvae and plants. If we do the Stop global species extinction If we want to achieve this, we need to be careful - even with the barely visible fauna.
6. leaf blowers pollute the air
The exhaust fumes of the "extremely convenient" garden technology not only stink: they are also really unhealthy. The internal combustion engines emit exhaust gases like Hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide and thus contribute significantly to the Air pollution and health hazards to life in the user's surroundings, which are usually already heavily polluted in urban areas anyway. Last but not least, leaf blowers stir up fine dust, tire wear and other pollutants that had already settled on the ground.
Tip: What we can all still do against air pollutionyou can read in the linked article.
7. leaf blowers prevent soil formation
Leaves, branches and twigs are also therefore extremely valuable for nature, because valuable humus soil is formed from it in the spring. Preventing the decay of the natural material with the help of a leaf blower or using a leaf vacuum to suck it up ultimately stops the formation of nutrient-rich soil.
8. leaf blowers make soil desiccation more likely.
The foliage layer also reduces the likelihood of the soil drying out and protects it from extremely cold temperatures. This is another reason why leaf blowers are harmful to the environment - and another reason why leaves, branches, seeds and other plant parts are better left lying around.
9. leaf blowers are expensive
If the previous reasons haven't scared you off yet, here's another one that might make you wonder. Leaf blowers and vacuums are pretty expensive. Depending on the model between 50 and 1000€ due. A leaf rake and leaf broom, on the other hand, cost only about 10 to 30 euros. A nice reason to have save money through sustainable behavior can. 😉
10. leaf blowers are not necessary
Leaves may be slippery - and also the "mess" could disturb the aesthetics in the garden. At the same time, they are so easy to use and do their job (especially community work) in no time. Yes, some reasons actually exist for leaf blowers to have made it into home improvement stores' offerings in the first place. But, of course, they are not essential for survival. Especially since there are Broom and rake quiet, inexpensive, odorless and pollutant-free alternatives exist. Those who absolutely want to vacuum or blow their leaves can even rely on electrically operated devices dodge, which will be quite quiet.
Besides, foliage is beautiful and should not really bother anyone. On the contrary, it is important source of food and protective shelter for countless animals and is what makes a sterile, "perfect" garden something unique and vibrant in the first place. If you feel the need, go ahead and rake it up, but at least leave it there for your garden visitors 🙂
Are leaf blowers harmful to the environment? The obvious disadvantages of leaf blowers for humans, animals and nature
Except for the convenience and supposed cost savings for municipalities that have larger areas to work with, leaf blowers offer few advantages, only disadvantages. They are Noisy, smelly, air polluting and simply anything but sustainable. Therefore, we should do without it and resort to environmentally friendly alternatives.
I hope that I was able to give you a clear overview of the reasons against motorized garden helpers (or destroyers?). Do you have any questions or can you think of any other disadvantages of leaf blowers and leaf vacuums? Then feel free to write me a comment.
PS.: Do you already know how you can enjoy countless singing concerts of birds in your garden in the future? If not, then be sure to check out my post now with the Tips for a bird friendly garden on. Have fun!
₁ BUND Naturschutz in Bayern e.V.: Laubsauger und Laubbläser schaden Mensch unt Natur, available at https://www.bund-naturschutz.de/oekologisch-leben/naturgarten/laubsauger-und-laubblaeser. [21.10.2021].
₂ Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany (NABU): Leave autumn leaves lying around, available at https://www.nabu-leipzig.de/ratgeber/herbstlaub. [21.10.2021].
Not only noise and emissions are harmful. The increasing use of leaf blowers in agriculture is also problematic. More and more often, farmers blow their hay with the devices - and with it the seeds of the grasses. If these land on inhospitable areas, there is no survival.